New Blythe House Hospice chief sets out future vision

Janet Dunphy has taken over as director at Chapel-en-le-Frith's Blythe House Hospice.
Janet Dunphy has taken over as director at Chapel-en-le-Frith's Blythe House Hospice.

For 25 years Blythe House Hospice has been at the heart of its community - providing a much-loved lifeline for High Peak families in their hour of need.

Running such a vital service is no mean feat, with staff, volunteers, fundraisers, patients and service users to take care of, but while it’s not an easy job, it’s certainly rewarding.

Blythe House Hospice

Blythe House Hospice

And for new hospice director Janet Dunphy, it’s a role she is relishing.

Janet has taken over from Sheila Tyler, who has retired after ten years at the helm of the Chapel-en-le-Frith hospice.

She brings with her a wealth of experience, having spent 28 years working in palliative care.

Previously based in West Yorkshire, Janet jumped at the chance to come to the High Peak, as she explained: “When I saw the advert I thought it was very warm, bright and interesting and it ticked every box of everything I had done in my career.”

She added: “Sheila Tyler has done so much for Blythe House to make it what it is today.

“I’m really excited to be at the helm with such a fabulous team that have such enthusiasm.”

Blythe House provides services for people in and around the High Peak area affected by cancer or life-threatening illnesses.

The services on offer are hugely important to those who use them, yet the hospice itself receives very little government funding so has to rely on fundraising and donations to continue.

And with it costing £1,800 a day to run the hospice, it’s a tough task.

“It’s always challenging,” Janet said. “People often think a hospice is about beds, but it’s about philosophy.

“Ninety per cent of what we do is in the community and only ten per cent is in the building.

“What I’ve been doing for the last three months is building good relationships with our partner services to assess what the community of the High Peak want so we can help shape the services of the future.

“Our population is getting older and it’s getting more important than ever before that people get care closer to home.

“We work closely with our GPs and district nurses to make sure wherever possible, people can stay in their own homes.

“It’s not just about the nursing staff though, we’ve got the complementary therapists and counsellors as well.

“But we couldn’t do any of it without the volunteers.

“The volunteers created the hospice, they help it continue and they help it flourish.”

And she added: “We’ve got fundraisers and volunteers in our six shops.

“It is a massive task and without our volunteers and fundraising team we wouldn’t be able to keep providing our services to the community.”

Founded in 1989, Blythe House now offers a range of services including the Living Well Service, for adults with cancer or a life-threatening illness, the Macmillan Information and Support Centre and a counselling/bereavement service.

And the aim of the hospice is to make things a little more bearable for people going through one of the most difficult times of their lives.

“Blythe is all about spirit,” Janet said. “There is no such thing as cancer with a spirit.

“When you look around Blythe, you see people with their families and their children and it’s brought them all together.”