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Christmas appeal

Christmas is a time of celebration for most people and food and drink is often central to the festivities. At St Oswald’s Hospice, it’s no different.

But imagine how difficult it would be at this time of year if you were unable to eat, drink and be merry...

For many of the people we care for, something as simple as enjoying a glass of mulled wine or tucking into roast turkey dinner is simply not possible. But at St Oswald’s, our specialist dietitian is able to find ways for patients to enjoy their favourite festive food and drink and be part of the celebrations with their families.

Could you help us to raise £12,680 to put Christmas dinner – and many more wholesome meals – on the menu for all of our patients?

In 2017, we were delighted to secure the funding for a specialist dietitian to work with our clinical and catering teams one day per week. Since then, she has transformed how our patients can enjoy food and drink by combining her extensive knowledge with innovative uses of technology. This funding is due to end in early 2020 and we are asking if you could give a precious a gift this Christmas to support this vital post for another year.

Food and drink can mean so much more than simply keeping a person alive. It’s life changing for some and life saving for others. Let us tell you a little more about how our patients are supported by the dietitian, the difference it’s made to their lives, and how you can ensure this important work continues.


 Please make a donation online:

Make a donation

or call 0191 246 9123 to give a gift by telephone.





A toast to the bride and groom

Our dietitian recently worked with a patient who was attending her daughter’s wedding. The lady was no longer able to swallow but her wish was to join in with the champagne toast to her daughter and her new so-in-law. The dietitian introduced a new piece of equipment to the hospice called an Air Set, which turns liquids in to foam, so patients are still able to taste and enjoy the flavour of the food and drink on their tongue. The mother of the bride was able to take this machine to the wedding, and with support from her family and friends, could enjoy the taste of the champagne on her tongue and raise a toast to the happy couple. She told us that being able to join in the toast really made her feel fully part of the day and is a special memory she will never forget.





Getting her Christmas mojo back 

The dietitian also supports our ladies group. One lady used to be a cook but due to her illness making her feel nauseous, she had to let her family step in and take over this role which she found difficult to let go of. She has slowly been baking more and brings cakes for the group every time we have a birthday, and she told us its’s given her mojo back! This Christmas, with encouragement and support from the dietitian, she plans to surprise her family by cooking a full dinner on Boxing Day – something she hadn’t imagine would be possible! 





Christmas mocktails with a twist


Many of us enjoy a cheeky Christmas cocktail, and the presentation of them is sometimes just as important as the taste! For many of our patients and young adults on restricted diets, a fancy cocktail might be something they want to enjoy but are unable to due to their condition. Our dietitian decided to shake up a menu of alcohol-free, festive favourites, fortified with protein, calories and minerals, ensuring they looked and tasted great. Using cocktail glasses, umbrellas and garnishes for the occasion, the finished result had a touch of luxury and looked as good as it tasted. The patients told us they loved getting into the festive spirit, knowing there was the added benefits of a boost to their health.




Celebrating Christmas St Oswald's-style

In our Focus on Living Day Centre, we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy a Christmas feast. Inclusiveness is very important, so we encourage all patients to enjoy the social aspect of eating together. The new menu devised by the dietitian caters for patients who need soft foods, minced diets and bite sized food, often due to swallowing difficulties. Thanks to the support of our dietitian, this is the first Christmas that we will be able to offer all of our patients a traditional Christmas lunch, no matter what they needs are, and we think that is something to celebrate!


 Please make a donation online:

 Make a donation

 or call 0191 246 9123 to give a gift by telephone. 




Coping in the kitchen after the loss of a loved one


We hold a weekly group just for men, many of whom had been widowed. Some of these men’s wives had done most, if not all, of the cooking throughout their marriage and suddenly, they found themselves faced with the kitchen and supermarket for the first time, which they told us they found very daunting. Our dietitian was able to support this group in choosing simple meals to cook themselves at home, that were still nourishing and tasty. She also reassured them that it was perfectly ok to enjoy a ready meal or a chocolate pudding if that’s what they fancied - much to their surprise and delight!



A patient's perspective


When I came to the Hospice I hadn’t eaten for a month because I had been unconscious. Because of this, my appetite wasn’t what it usually would be so the catering staff at the Hospice would make whatever I felt like, such as milkshakes and soups.

The food was exactly what I needed as I hate ‘build up’ drinks. I needed more strength so I could get up and try to walk again, and I couldn’t have done it without eating well, with the support of the dietician. I’ve also learnt a lot about what I need to eat when I’m at home to continue feeling better.




Our dietitian wants to continue working with patients to ensure they can eat well not just this Christmas but all year round. Please help us keep our dietitian for patients and give a gift today towards the £12,680 needed.

Your will make meal times less scary, more fulfilling and enjoyable again for people with life limiting conditions such as Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease.

Your kind donation will ensure patients continue to experience and enjoy the simple pleasures of a hot drink, a shared meal and a special celebration, bringing families closer together through enjoying something that we often take for granted.
Together, we can make a real difference to the lives of local people.

Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas time.


 Angela Egdell

 Angela Egdell

Director of Care Services


PS: As Director of Care Services at St Oswald’s, I can assure you that every penny of your donation will come straight to the Hospice and directly benefit the hundreds of local families we care for each year. If we are lucky enough to hit our target, any funds raised over and above the cost of funding our dietitian for a year will be rolled over to the following year, allowing our patients to benefit from her expertise for even longer. Thank you.


 Please make a donation online:

Make a donation

or call 0191 246 9123 to give a gift by telephone.