The Knysna – Sedgefield Hospice falls under the national body called the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa. It is a Non Governmental Organisation that is funded by donations and the sizable income produced by their popular and well-supported shops. HPCA now has signed partnerships with 16 different organisations to improve and co-ordinate health-care to terminally ill patients.
The local Knysna – Sedgefield Hospice has an annual budget of R5 million and employs 50 people. It is fleshed out by 300 unpaid volunteers that are the backbone of the organisation. 73% of its income goes directly into patient care. Dr Janet Stanford is the CEO. David Bath is the Chairman and Chris Bourlay is the Financial Director. Hospice is truly fortunate to have such caring and committed people at its helm and such high calibre people working within its organisation.
Hospice care is free to everyone with life threatening diseases such as HIV- AIDS, TB, Cancer, etc. but by far the biggest load is chronic care where patients are helped to cope with the painful restrictions their illnesses place upon them.
"You matter because you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all that we can not only to help you die peacefully, but to live fully until you die." - Dame Cecily Saunders, Founder of Hospice
Sister Henriette Christie oversees Sedgefield’s 40 +/- patients with the assistance of the home-based carers Sheila and Dorothy in the Sedgefield area and Dahlena and Sandra who do Keurhoek and Rheenendal and the farm areas. Marline, the Social Worker visits candidates who apply for Hospice care and refers those who qualify for their services to Sister Henriette. The plan is to extend this service to the Wilderness community as Hospice has been asked to help patients in that area.
The Sedgefield Hospice service provides pain and symptom management for patients, practical advice for their family and carers, emotional counselling for patients and bereavement counselling for their loved ones to give them support and comfort whilst going through the grieving process. Where necessary, wheelchairs, bedpans and special bedding to help avoid bedsores are loaned to patients.
Under the auspices of Sedgefield Hospice, Bridgit McDowall and Hennie Kombrink hold a day-care clinic in the Smutsville church every alternate Monday. Roughly +/- 20 patients participate in activities like knitting peak caps and hand sewing. They momentarily forget their worries as they paint eggs or make Christmas or Easter cards and have an opportunity to socialise with each other under the compassionate care of Bridgit and Hennie.
Sedgefield Hospice holds similar day-care clinics at Keurhoek and Rheenendale. Sister Henriette uses these days to see the Hospice patients. The folks are given soup and sandwiches, tea and cake as part of the morning outing.
1 Mar 2011 was a landmark day for Sedgefield Hospice as the public face of this great NGO, the Hospice Shoppe moved out of their cramped premises to a fine suite of rooms next to Pep Stores. The new premises comprise a spacious shop, storeroom, sorting room for incoming donated goods, nurse’s office and counselling room, ablutions and kitchen and a few other spare rooms that will address their needs for a good many years to come.
A kind donor who wishes to remain anonymous has contributed shelving for books, rails for the display of curtains, clothing rails and shoes racks. All in all the place looks very presentable and now sale goods have the space to be attractively displayed.
Karen Rotherham is the chairperson and co-ordinator of her team of +/- 35 volunteers for the shop. They sort, cost and label all the donated items for sale. New volunteers are always welcome as people come and go and relief stand-ins for those on holiday are frequently needed.
Currently the shop is open :
Monday and Friday 10am – 12:45pm, 2pm - 4pm
Tuesday - Thursday 10am – 12:45pm
Saturdays 9:30am –12:30pm
Tel: 044-343 1722
Donations of unwanted goods ranging from shoes and clothing to furniture, kitchen appliances, household linen and bric-a-brac are always gratefully accepted.
When valuable items are donated such as antiques, books, vintage clothing etc. they are offered to specialist shops to raise more money for Hospice. Toiletries are kept for Bingo prizes. Donated wool is used by volunteers to make jersies, hats and blankets for school children,the sick and the elderly.
Clean bedding and pillows are given to Sister Henriette for needy patients. Hospice networks with many other organisations to assist the vulnerable, ill and destitute in our local communities and helping places like Rondevlei School, Masithandane and Blanco in George. They have also come to the assistance of people who’ve lost everything when their homes/shacks have burned down supplying them with clothing and household goods.
Throughout the year, cake sales, raffles, an annual auction, reconditioned Christmas cards and tin collections are also used to raise funds for Knysna - Sedgefield Hospice.
Sedgefield falls under Knysna which was started in 1986 when a generous local businesswoman, Peggy Grinaker, donated a house in Hunters Home to Hospice. B.O.N.D. House as it is known is an acronym of all Peggy’s family members that she lost to terminal illnesses. Many Sedgefield volunteers actively and generously supported the Knysna hospice for years travelling through weekly to work in the shop and/or attend meetings.
One day Wynne Humphries was travelling back from working in the Knysna shop with Peter Beer when she broached the topic of starting a shop in Sedgefield. His support for her idea gave Wynne the encouragement to put whole-hearted effort into the project. She still had to get approval from the Knysna board.
Meanwhile she had leaflets made that were distributed to the Smutsville church on Sunday to see if they were in favour of the concept and garnered further support from the local community. A friend assisted her to find an affordable shop in the Forest Lodge complex that was owned by generous and good-hearted Sedgefield residents, Gerry and Cathy Stavros so by the next Knysna meeting she was so organised it was agreed that the Sedgefield Hospice Shoppe could go ahead!
Wynne borrowed tressels from builders (their names stuck on underneath so they would get them back) to display items for sale. She had a table for the cash box and with the help of many local contributors and enthusiastic volunteers the shop was opened on 1 November 2000. Wynne said she took in R1800-00 the first day.
The shop opened every day thereafter from 10am -12:30pm and Fridays 10am -12:45pm and 2pm - 4:15pm, Saturdays 10am-12pm.Wynne was there 6 days a week but after losing her beloved husband a year before, it gave her a reason again to get up in the morning and she loved doing what she did - interacting with people, pricing the sales goods and making money for Hospice.
Different volunteers would assist her on different days throughout the week. She would often tell the locals who came in with their week’s wages on a Friday afternoon, to go and buy groceries for their families first and then come back to spend some of their left-over money in the shop.
She said she would sometimes let something go for less than the marked price if the purchaser really wanted or needed it because the secret of the success of the shop was turning over the sales goods and people who felt they had been given a bargain would come back again and again!
Here are some of the volunteers she remembers who worked with her in those early years – Marie Anderson, Margaret Beattie, Elna Beard, Hannalore Becker, Pat Colne, Maria Connolan, Margie Fagan, Andre Gardiner, Joyce Hampson, Barbara Humphrey, Hennie Kombrink, Lynn Lapham, Lynn Parsons, Anne Rukin, Cathy Siebert, Zena Small, Margaret Stevenson, Natalie Sweet, Sylvia Taylor, Marlene Twycross, Margaret Underwood ………many of these women are still active in the shop today.
From the beginning the shop did so well that within a month Wynne asked Cathy Stavros if Hospice could also rent the shop next door for a trial period of 2 months as she felt things might flag after the Christmas season. They didn’t and both shops continued to flourish until the necessary move into the new premises in March 2011.
Wynne has in her house today a picture by artist, Lorna Popjoy who donated it to Hospice to be raffled. When Brigitte Richter, one of the volunteers won it, she gave it to Wynne insisting she should have the picture as it was a piece of history recording the view she once had of the reeds on the Swartvlei Lagoon at the bottom of her garden. The young tree in the picture is no more as it crashed down into a garden near by falling over when the ground had been waterlogged and destabilised as a result of the 2007 floods. It narrowly missed causing serious damage to the house on the property.
Wynne passed the shop on to other stewards after 5 years as she was then 75 and had decided to go on a long over-due overseas extended holiday to see friends and family. She had built a strong foundation and remarks that the late Alan Glass who opened the Knysna shop had been her mentor. Her good friend Clare Wordsworth who was a physiotherapist had been a volunteer care-giver for Sedgefield Hospice at that time. Wynne is still known as “Mrs Hospice" among the coloured and black community of Sedgefield who frequented the shop!
For many years, Wynne says, Montecello treated the Hospice helpers to a wonderful annual lunch, free of charge. She remains grateful to many businesses and individuals who contributed generously to the Hospice cause enabling it to be such a success story in Sedgefield.
Wynne was 81 years old when she passed away on 3 October 2011 after a short illness. She was a well-loved member of the Sedgefield community, a caring and loving friend to many people. She will be sorely missed.
To find out more about the Knysna-Sedgefield Hospice Click here!