An oasis of peace and prayer at the heart of a busy hospital is how a newly refurbished Chaplaincy centre in Barrow has been described.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has transformed Furness General Hospital’s Chaplaincy department into a tranquil and welcoming place for patients, relatives, visitors and staff.
Debbie Wilde, Lead Chaplain at Furness General Hospital (FGH), said: “The transformation is absolutely wonderful.
“It’s somewhere to take time out or a calming space for prayer. We have tried to use soothing colours which reflect Barrow’s docklands history such as the greens and blues of the sea and nature.”
As well as the beautiful new chapel, the Chaplaincy department now has a prayer room for all faiths, a meeting room, office space, a vestry and prayer tree artwork on the entrance wall.
The dedication service of the chapel was held on Monday 3 June and was attended by people from across the Furness Peninsula including The Venerable Dr Richard Pratt, Archdeacon of West Cumberland, Richard Teal, Chairman of Cumbria Methodist District and Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive of UHMBT.
The Trust’s Capital Services Team planned, project managed and commissioned the work in-house, working alongside Day Architectural Ltd and Thomas Armstrong Construction Ltd.
Debbie joined UHMBT as Lead Chaplain for FGH in September to be near her family and prior to that she worked for a large NHS Trust in Oxford.
She said: “This area is my home. The community here is fabulous.
“I see it as a real privilege to work here because many people come to us in spiritual or physical pain, facing big questions due to illness.
“We hope to support them on their life journey. We are there for them in a spiritual and holistic sense.
“Religion is important too, but not always. Often it’s about what holds meaning in a person’s life. That can be very challenging when you are ill or if you are facing the prospect of losing someone.
“For staff, the pressure of working in the NHS on a day to day basis can be relentless and we are there for them too. NHS staff do an incredible job and they also have to face many emotional situations and difficult questions.
“In my experience, staff need to be encouraged and nurtured. They need someone to talk to and to be able to take time out. We can advocate for them, mediate or just be a listening ear.”
Groups meet in the Chaplaincy department and there are two services at 1pm on the first and third Sunday of every month.
Debbie added: “We’d be delighted if anyone would like to volunteer at these services. If anyone is interested they can call the hospital and ask for the Chaplaincy department.
“Our Chaplaincy department is part of the ‘Barrow Mission Community’. All of the churches in Barrow are part of the Mission Community.
“We have a lovely relationship with the local churches. They come to visit us and we go out to see them.
“Hopefully our Chaplaincy at FGH is a centre for peace and wholeness. I believe that we all have a soul and a spirit and that is the centre of what we do.
“Medicine can often cure an ailment or condition but we are there for the whole person.
“We see ourselves as a centre for the meeting of people of all faiths and none; everyone is welcome.”