The history of Oakhaven Hospice
From little acorns, mighty oaks grow
Oakhaven Hospice came into being because of the vision of Mrs Phoebe Coates who donated the land in memory of her husband John in the late 1980s.
John and Phoebe had decided to do something for the people of Lymington before John passed away in 1987. The plot on which the hospice was built was previously the croquet lawn and vegetable garden. Mrs Coates also funded the building costs.
From these small beginnings, Oakhaven has evolved and grown to offer a wide range of services to care and support individuals and their families, both in the Hospice and within their homes across the New Forest, Waterside and Totton area.
1992 - Official opening
HRH The Duchess of Kent officially opened Oakhaven Hospice on 7th May 1992. After unveiling a plaque, HRH said: "I do know the extraordinary feeling that they give to people who come in here. The feeling of safety and the feeling of being deeply cared for and loved."
"It's not a hospital, it's a home."
The people of Lymington raised over £300,000 to cover the running costs of the hospice, which at the time of opening could cater for twelve Day Patients and five In-Patients.
1992 - Oakhaven FUNdraising
The first fundraising challenge for Oakhaven Hospice was set in 1992, "Do something silly for Oakhaven" and since then thousands in the local community have participated in challenges to raise the funds necessary for Oakhaven to provide care and support to people with life-limiting illness.
1995 - The first charity shop
The first Oakhaven Hospice charity shop was opened in Lymington in 1995. Charity shops in Hythe and New Milton followed in 1996.
Since then, Oakhaven has established retail outlets in several parts of the New Forest, Waterside and Totton, which are increasingly important in terms of income. Oakhaven's shops have gained a reputation for excellence and quality at affordable prices.
1997 - Clinical Nurse Specialists
In 1997 the first Clinical Nurse Specialists were appointed at Oakhaven and a physiotherapy service was started at the Hospice.
1997 also saw the start of the Oakhaven Hospice Lottery, which still continues today and is a valuable source of income for the charitable trust. As well as the weekly lottery, a Grand Draw takes place at Christmas and in the Spring/Summer.
2000 - Expansion of services
In 2000, Mrs Phoebe Coates gave Oakhaven further buildings and garden to build an additional wing and to expand its services.
2004 - Queen's Award
In 2004, Oakhaven Hospice was honoured to be awarded the Queens Award for voluntary service. The hospice was nominated by people who have either benefited from the facility or witnessed its positive impact on the community. At the time, 240 Oakhaven volunteers were giving a total of 36,000 hours to the hospice each year.
Volunteers Angela Wood and Vic Lyons went to St James's Palace for a reception attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. They were joined on their visit to the palace by Carole Reynolds, Oakhaven's human resources director.
2005-2008 - New services
The chaplaincy service started in 2005, along with the support service for local carers.
Phoebe Coates died peacefully at the hospice in 2006 at the age of 90.
In 2007 the complementary therapy service started and the following year "Hospice at Home" was launched to further enhance community care.
The first "Dining Divas" fundraising lunch was held in March 2008 and the first Family Fun Day in June 2008.
2009-2010 - Pennington Chase
Phoebe Coates bequeathed her home, Pennington Chase, to Oakhaven Hospice. Redevelopment started in 2009 to enhance facilities for the day hospice and support services, providing Oakhaven with the opportunity to continue to develop palliative care to meet future needs.
Over nine months, the half of Pennington Chase House lived in by hospice benefactor the late Phoebe Coates was transformed to provide complementary therapy facilities, physiotherapy rooms, bereavement counselling quarters, new staff quarters and an education centre where nurses and care staff from across the area can learn more about palliative care.
The official opening of the redeveloped Pennington Chase building was opened by Oakhaven's patron, Miss Susan Hampshire, in 2010.
2009-2011 - Santas and acorns
December 2009 saw the first Oakhaven Santa Dash in Lymington and 2010 the start of the Acorn Project, bringing together children and patients in a safe, happy and positive environment to raise awareness and understanding of long-term illness, end-of-life care and issues around death and dying.
In 2011, a new build expansion of and improved facilities for the in-patient unit were opened.
Also in 2011, the Oakhaven team organised its first fundraising skydive.
2012 - More community services
In 2012 a programme of direct support for care homes and nursing homes was developed for end-of-life care.
The Oakhaven Neighbours scheme commenced in 2013. A free, volunteer-led service, Oakhaven Neighbours is available to Oakhaven Hospice patients and their families. It offers companionship and a helping hand with everyday tasks that can become overwhelming when living with a life-limiting illness.
2013 - Oakhaven Care
The Oakhaven Care Ltd agency opened for business in 2013, providing paid-for domiciliary care.
The Oakhaven Care team provides assistance with daily tasks and personal care for those requiring a little extra support at home. A social enterprise and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oakhaven Hospice, all its profits go to support the work of the hospice.
2014 - The Coates Centre
The Coates Centre was officially opened in 2014 by Oakhaven's patron, Dame Mary Fagan.
Through the Centre, Oakhaven started delivering community engagement work - working with volunteers and other partners to improve social support, well-being and health-related matters for those approaching end of life and their loved ones - both in the Coates Centre and in the wider community.
2014 - The Oakhaven Kitchen
Bereavement cooking lessons started in 2014, teaching the basic skills of preparing vegetables, meat and fish to produce nutritious meals. Many participants have become more motivated to cook and learn valuable cooking skills and techniques with others in the same situation of having to prepare meals for the first time.
The Oakhaven Kitchen team now also provides professional catering for events, preparing high-quality, home-cooked food for you and your guests to enjoy.
2015-2016 Energetic fundraising!
The Oakhaven team organised the first fundraising Abseil in 2015, as well as a fundraising Colour Run event, where participants were showered with water and dry paint as they ran 3km.
2016 saw the first Hospice to Hospice fundraising walk, between the Lewis-Manning Hospice in Poole and Oakhaven Hospice and a giant water slide foamy fundraiser down Lymington High Street.
2017 - 25th Anniversary
25th Anniversary of the official opening of the hospice. To celebrate the anniversary, a cream tea was organised where guests could admire a sea of 1,000 ceramic forget-me-knots displayed in the hospice grounds. There was also a service of thanksgiving at St Thomas Church in Lymington and a gala dinner at the Stanwell House Hotel.
2018 - Totton
In 2018, Oakhaven's services were expanded, adding the Totton area to its existing provision in the New Forest and Waterside. As well as the service provision, a new charity shop was opened in Totton.
Further expansion of the Community Nursing team followed in 2019.
2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic
In 2020 the whole world was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The UK went into lockdown in March and Oakhaven Hospice had to put in place new procedures to ensure the safety of patients and staff, whilst continuing to make every moment matter for those at end of life.
Oakhaven opened additional bedrooms to help the NHS during the Covid crisis and ran 'virtual events' to try and raise the income shortfall created by the lockdowns and government regulations.
A new Furniture Outlet Centre was opened in late 2020 at Ampress Park in Lymington, facilitating the start of Oakhaven's online store - an e-commerce fundraising charity shop. An ebay shop was also started, to be joined later by a depop shop. Both made possible by the space, staff and volunteers at the new Furniture Outlet Centre.
In 2021, as life started to return to 'normality', Oakhaven expanded its Occupational Therapy services.
2022 - 30th Anniversary
In 2022, Oakhaven celebrates its 30th Anniversary.
May saw the launch of Oakhaven's Single Point of Access (SPA). Patients, their families, health and social care professionals and the general public within the New Forest, Totton and Waterside areas can speak to Oakhaven's new coordination centre to access information, advice and support for end-of-life care. The staff work closely with local GPs and community services to make the best use of resources in the area, ensuring those with end-of-life care issues receive timely help and support.
The vital services we provide in both the Hospice and home setting are a testimony to the generosity and vision of Mrs Coates. This, in addition to the hard work of key individuals in the early stages of this local project and the community's incredible coming together to support it, built the platform for the work that we do today that is so valued by patients, carers and families alike.
We are thankful to the Coates family for their generosity, without which Oakhaven would not be able to provide support and comfort to those within our community who need it.