Originally published 28th July 2022

Hospice of the Valleys is a local charity that provides specialist palliative care to the people of Blaenau Gwent. The care and support the charity provides is bespoke to each patient’s needs and is provided free of charge.

When the Covid Pandemic first struck, all face to face appointments were severely impacted for Hospice of the Valleys’ Family Support Team, making it very difficult for them to deliver their vital bereavement support and other support services. This meant the team had to adapt and change the way they worked so they could continue providing much needed support within the local community.

A call was made to Tai Calon asking if we could help convert a shelter in the Hospice Garden into a safe, weatherproof and comfortable space for the Hospice Family Support Team so they could continue providing their services in a Covid safe environment. In true DIY SOS style Tai Calon set about renovating the Shelter with our subcontractor MSH Building Contractors who installed doors transforming it from an unloved shelter to a comfortable haven where face to face conversations could be held safely within Covid guidelines. This provided a lifeline to so many people during the pandemic and has continued to do so. Tai Calon has given a further donation of £1000 to support Hospice of the Valleys’ adults and children bereavement service which will help towards the running of their support groups and much needed resources. The Shelter was officially opened on the 15th July by Andrew Myatt our Director of Housing & Communities at Tai Calon and Grant Usmar Chief Executive at Hospice of the Valleys along with other guests who were involved in the project.

Lynsey Wheeler from Brynmawr came to the Shelter on numerous occasions before and after the death of her late mother Ann and was given the honour of choosing the name of ‘The Shelter’.

Lyndsey said “My Mother passed away in September and my brother in law the previous April, due to Covid there were restrictions on numbers at his funeral and then when my Mother was unwell in Hospital, visits were also severely restricted. Having the opportunity to come to the shelter, I discovered that I was a reflective person and needed this space to talk, to be able to look at the scenery, hear the trees rustle and be at one with nature. The aesthetics and the elements were calming at what was a dark and heavy time. In so many ways it was uplifting being outdoors but being sheltered from the extremities as well. The Shelter really has formed a big part of my story and has proved to be very grounding and helped me hugely”.

Lyndsey is one of many people that will continue to be able to use and benefit from the space in the future.