At certain times in everyone’s lives there is a need for spiritual support and guidance.
Often, it comes as people face the end of their lives, and at Trinity Hospice that support is always available from the chaplain.
The Rev Ian Baxter, who spends his time at the hospice visiting patients and visitors, said: “Spirituality is an umbrella phrase for that part in people’s lives when they are asking why certain things are happening to them and how they are going to cope.
“For some people that’s found in different religions, but we recognise for others that’s not the case and we look at the importance of their families and how what is happening can affect them.”
Mr Baxter said a spirituality could also be about being creative.
He added: “In the day unit we do a lot of art and craft work while talking about the importance of helping each other out and creating new friendships. It’s about meeting new people to take this journey with.
“When people feel comfortable they have that bond or trust with people who talk to them about their spiritual needs. They might be around faith, and it might be that they want their own church to support them.”
Mr Baxter, 40, who has been at Trinity for six years, described it a place where a lot of people were wrestling with the “big questions” in life.
“I find it very rewarding and satisfying working here,” he said.
“It’s a huge privilege to be part of people’s lives in this way.
“It’s a diverse role but it’s an important one to speak to patients about their support and care, and to break down the taboos of talking about death and religion.
“A lot of my conversations happen in quiet rooms, the corner of the lounge or at the bedside. It’s important that there is the right environment to listen to people and for them to talk.”
It’s because of the importance of quiet spaces that Mr Baxter welcomes The Gazette’s Hospice Heroes campaign to raise £200,000 towards much needed refurbishments at Trinity Hospice and Brian House children’s hospice.
The work, as well as providing more single rooms at the hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham, also includes creating more quiet spaces to afford patients and their families privacy and dignity.
The money raised through Hospice Heroes will be put together with a £280,000 grant from the Department of Health to pay for the work.
Mr Baxter said: “I welcome this work. Trinity has always been, and always will be, a safe place to talk about things.”