New hospice offers serene place to grieve
Sandra Castle, executive director of Langley Hospice Society
stands on the verandah of the society's new office near City Park.
By Natasha Jones - Langley Times
Published: September 30, 2010 2:00 PM
With a spiral staircase, a chef's dream kitchen and a half acre of sprawling gardens, Langley Hospice Society's new office - at 20660 48 Ave. - is not like most people's place of work. But then again, the work hospice staff does isn't like most people's jobs.
"Many hospice societies work out of houses. Our bereavement clients who have just lost a loved one due to death really appreciate being in such a serene and peaceful atmosphere," said Sandra Castle, Langley Hospice's executive director. "Our programs are offered year round and at no cost to the public." She said an opportunity came forward to purchase the property which is located beside City Park. "We are settling in nicely and looking forward to expanding our programs and services," she said.
The home's "living room" is used for bereavement support, mostly for adults, including one-to-one support and grief support groups. The reception area is staffed by administration volunteers. The "family room/kitchen" is their library and resource centre.
"We hold board meetings, staff meetings, volunteer recognition teas, memorial services such as Mother's Day and Journeying Through the Holidays during the Christmas season," she said. Upstairs in this 4,000 square feet home are administrative offices and downstairs, is going to be mainly used for their 30-hour volunteer hospice training course, AGM meetings and other training.
To purchase and have no mortgage on such a beautiful home took some savvy real estate work on the Hospice Society's part. Langley Hospice purchased the first house at 20088 40A Ave. about 12 years ago, using money raised through garage sales, golf tournaments, concerts and community donations. An opportunity came up to purchase a small adjacent piece of land from the Township, which was zoned commercial. Hospice then sold all of that for a lot more than they paid for it and with some Hospice Foundation money; they purchased the new property on 48 Avenue. The only renovations needed were making the building wheel chair-accessible and putting in firewalls.
Despite its beautiful interior and exterior, it could never become a hospice, said Castle. The current 10-bed hospice residence on the grounds of Langley Memorial Hospital has been operating for five years.
"We work in partnership with Fraser Health both financially and with our palliative volunteer support program," said Castle. "There will eventually be a permanent 10-bed residence built, but [there are] no plans at the moment."