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Alison, one of our Focus on Living patients would usually come onsite to attend our support groups and classes, but due to Coronavirus, Alison and our other Focus on Living patients have not been able to come together for care, support and friendship since March. Thanks to you, and our dedicated Focus on Living team however, people like Alison have continued to receive care and support virtually during these tough times.

Alison Louch, 57 from Bedlington, has been supported by St Oswald’s since September last year. Alison is living with a lung condition called bronchiectasis, and like many people with a long-term health condition, she was asked to shield and stay at home during lockdown.

Alison said: “Despite an initial reluctance to go to St Oswald’s, I loved it. The people are all really lovely; I always felt spoilt as the staff couldn’t do enough for me.

“As I have bronchiectasis, I was advised to stay at home and shield in March, so instead of attending St Oswald’s every week, I’ve received support at home for the last six months. The staff at the Hospice have continued to be there for me, and as well as phone calls to check in, they have organised online arts classes, which have been brilliant. Throughout lockdown the groups gave me something to look forward to and I know through winter they will be just as important to keep me going.”

The online arts and craft classes are an opportunity for new and existing St Oswald’s patients to access essential support and friendship until it is safe to return to the Hospice. Alison continued:

“The (virtual) groups have felt more like a coffee morning to me. It has been lovely to see other people and Hospice staff. St Oswald’s has even delivered all of the materials for the classes so that I haven’t had to leave the house. I’ve never really had a hobby but I have a new found love of embroidery and I am always so excited to receive the bundle of materials every week.”