Accord Hospice Paisley – 40 years of commitment to care
As they mark their 40th year, Accord Hospice are as eager to improve lives and provide solace as ever.
For anyone who’s resided in Renfrewshire for any length of time, Accord Hospice is as ubiquitous as physical landmarks such as the Paisley Abbey or the Victory Baths.
Hard-woven into the fabric of the area, this palliative care facility first opened its doors in 1982 and has continued to evolve to fit the needs of the times.
But as Fundraising Manager David McFadden explained, one thing that’s endured across the eras is their central philosophy of adding “life into days.”
“As with most places, it started off incredibly small and has grown and grown to help over 1,200 families every year. It’s no small undertaking, but it is so essential.
“At the outset, there was a group of likeminded people who wanted palliative care to become just a little bit more,” he outlined. “They wanted it to be a holistic experience in not just the environment that it’s delivered in, but the experience that patients and families get.
“It’s all person-centred, whether that comes across in day trips or through things like getting a haircut at the salon. Overall, it’s all about getting to know people and understanding their needs.
“Hospice care has changed greatly. When I started five years ago, it was all about the in-patient unit and that’ll always be here. But in recent years, there’s a real focus on people receiving care at home. We’re currently in the midst of the second year of our Accord At Home project which is partly funded by The National Lottery.
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“The goal with that is to provide the exact same care – emotional, medical and psychological – that you’d get here at home. Ultimately, we just want everyone to get the care they want and deserve as it’s so important.
“The hospice is currently in the best position we’ve ever been in to deliver that and it’s all thanks to the support we get from the local community,” David said of their ongoing fundraising efforts.
“Most of the time, it comes as a thanks for the care and support that people get from our nurses, doctors and physios. It’s a very emotive place, we’ve got over 450 volunteers and the vast majority of them have been touched by the hospice in some way.
“We’re just a local charity looking after local people. Once their loved ones receive care, families will often shift to helping the hospice, whether that’s telling their story or helping to raise money as they want to give back however they possibly can.”
Hot on the heels of their 40th anniversary concert with the Glasgow Phoenix Choir, Accord Hospice has no intention of slowing down. Alongside a bustling event schedule ahead which includes the likes of golf days and Scotland’s Hospices Together bubble rush as well as an 11-person-strong skydive, their milestone anniversary will also be commemorated with a special limited-edition gin that has been made in conjunction with local distillers Teardrop and is limited to just 200 bottles in total.
Beyond that, one of the centrepieces of their calendar is their annual art exhibition and this year, it’s fittingly set to be bigger than ever before.
“We normally host it at the hospice with around 50 artists and around 250 paintings. But now, moving to The Art Department in The Paisley Centre has meant that we’ll be increasing that to around 130 as well as our mini masterpieces auction. The vast majority are Renfrewshire-based artists or so that’s always such a focus for us.”
At the helm during a massively busy time for the hospice, CEO Jacki Smart is not only immensely inspired by what’s come before, but is excited to see what the future holds for the organisation.
“We are all proud to be part of our team at this milestone and see the 40th year as an opportunity to reflect and celebrate all that has been achieved,” she remarked. “We have grown into a vibrant, modern and stable charity with reliable, high quality services.
“We have come a long way but we couldn’t have done it without all of the support. We have a community who stand with us through every success and challenge and their one-off and regular donations help us plan our services into the future.
“The next 40 years will be built on that same philosophy and will hopefully support us to expand to meet the needs of diversity and an ageing, frail population who all deserve the very best experience of death possible.
“Accord will do what it always does,” she said of what’s to come. “We will recover from the pandemic stronger than ever. We will work hard to be secure and available to those who need us.
“Review and evaluate services to evolve with the times and we’ll grow in the direction that is safe and sustainable and that our patients tell us is needed. We will plan and develop our workforce and ensure they feel valued.
“We will continue to seek support from all who can assist us, financially and otherwise, and will remain grateful for every bit of support.”
To get involved with Accord Hospice, visit their website. This feature appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Mill Magazine.