Chilliwack Hospice Society growing and expanding

Big move for society, as it sells heritage home and relocates in Sardis

It’s a dream come true.

The Chilliwack Hospice Society has found a place to stretch its wings and grow. They made the announcement they had purchased a new space for their offices and program delivery back in June. Since then, they’ve been working non-stop to both run the Hospice business and renovate and redecorate their new home.

You’ll find them at 7112 Vedder Rd., the former building of the Sardis Family Place. Executive Director Sue Attrill took The Progress on a sneak peek of the new digs, while she and the crew of staff and volunteers were in the middle of a work bee. They were busy sanding, painting, and envisioning a new future for the society.

“They’re all so dedicated,” she says, smiling and laughing with a group painting the main lobby.

The whole group is excited; it’s a change that’s been a long time coming.

“We’ve been saving for a long time,” Attrill says. Since 2004, the society has operated its business end from the historic Kipp House on Hodgins Avenue, across from Prospera Centre. They’ve walked alongside grieving families and friends inside that building for 13 years, and it will always hold a special place in the society’s history.

“If the walls could talk they would tell a story of love and healing, laughter and sharing, joy and torment and so many special moments,” the society said in their initial announcement on social media. But while the home has a certain appeal and cozy quality, it had its drawbacks for the growing society.

“We outgrew that building about five years ago,” Attrill says, and they were constantly shifting programming from room to room to make the space work. The house is up for sale now, and while saying goodbye is bittersweet, there’s too many great qualities of their new space to shed too many tears.

They now have enough rooms for all the staff to create their own office spaces. They have a dedicated quiet area for meditation and other quiet workshops, just off their own resource library, which is open to clients. They have a board room, waiting rooms, and dedicated counselling rooms, with enough space between them all to provide privacy and respect for everyone.

They have a kitchen, which they’ll use to continue cooking classes, and a children’s area where specific programming can help youngsters through the grieving process. But, with all that new space, the rooms are looking a little empty still. They’ve gone from working out of a somewhat cramped heritage home to a 6,000 square foot, two-storey building. There are sitting areas to fill, counselling rooms to cozy up, a children’s area to enliven, and even — eventually — a rooftop patio to turn into a peaceful oasis.

They are appealing to the public who would like to help with the move, to donate money so they can purchase furniture that will give the new space a welcoming, relaxed look. And for those who would prefer to give furniture donations, Attrill says they can discuss that individually with people.

“We want to make it homey,” she says, so the clients can relax while visiting. They offer bereavement programs and palliative support services, including one on one support, first and second step grief support, children’s grief support, a relaxation program, pregnancy and infant loss support, suicide and homicide grief support and a walking group. They also do home visits, vigil services, and visit palliative patients and their families at Cascade Hospice and Chilliwack General Hospital.

There are numerous ways to support the Chilliwack Hospice Society, including offering volunteer time, shopping at the Thrifty Boutique and attending the annual gala. To support the Hospice through second-hand shopping, visit them at 45428 Luckakuck Way in Sardis, Monday through Saturday.

Annual gala

The 14th Annual Chilliwack Hospice Society Gala is planned a little earlier than usual this year. It’s being held on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Landing Sports Centre on Spadina Ave.

As always, this upscale event will be the premiere fundraiser for the society. And to thank their guests for coming, they always pull out all the stops in terms of entertainment, themes, food, and live and silent auctions.

This year’s theme will be Moulin Rouge, An Evening in Paris and it’s a formal attire event. Tickets are already on sale, at $150 a person. Tables will seat 10 people, and all tickets can be purchased online at chilliwackhospice.org/gala or by calling 604-795-4660.

Plenty of big sponsors are already on board, including Prospera Credit Union, Chances Chilliwack and Molson.

For questions on how to help with the expansion to their Vedder Road location, email sue@chilliwackhospice.org. Watch for details on a ribbon cutting of the new office space, scheduled for Aug. 24.