Hospices are part of the fabric of communities across the UK. Throughout the history of healthcare, including palliative and end of life care, Black people – and in particular Black women – have played a huge role in the development and delivery of hospice care in this country.
This month, we've been proud to see our hospice members celebrating and honouring that role, as well as engaging with communities to make sure that people know hospices are there for everyone, regardless of who they are.
Take a look at what some of our members have been up to, in our Black History Month hospice roundup.
What's on this page
- What is Black History Month?
- St Christopher’s Hospice, London
- St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle upon Tyne
- Acorn’s Children’s Hospice, Birmingham
- Saint Francis Hospice, Essex
- Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield
- Prince of Wales Hospice, Pontefract
- North London Hospice
- St Catherine’s Hospice, West Sussex & East Surrey
- Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Surrey
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month 2023 is an important annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black people to British society.
Black people have always been at the forefront of social justice movements, fighting against oppression and paving the way for change. But despite their countless contributions to society, the achievements of Black women, in particular, have too often been overlooked or forgotten. That is why, this year, Black History Month celebrates the exceptional achievements of Black women.
The theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’ highlights the crucial role that Black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. This year’s celebration showcases pioneering Black women who have made remarkable contributions to literature, music, fashion, sport, business, politics, academia, social and health care, and more.
For Hospice UK, and palliative care services around the world, we want to celebrate Black women who have played a pivotal role in the end of life care sector, and continue to do so to this day.
St Christopher’s Hospice, London
As part of Black History Month, Alecia and Rianne from the charity Reaching Higher recently teamed up to talk about their work in partnership with St Christopher's Hospice in London. Reaching Higher go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Watch the video to see how they work with St Christopher’s around death, dying and loss – and how they aim to spread the message of hope, resilience, and the power of community.
In another video, Lives Not Knives discuss the importance of representation in the community, and how working with St Christopher’s better equips them to have conversations about bereavement, to open up wider feelings and concerns. Lives Not Knives provides mentoring to young people to provide them with support and advice.
St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle upon Tyne
St Oswald’s CEO @StephEdusei highlighted the importance of celebrating Black history beyond Black History Month, saying that people are Black all year round. St Oswald’s have been celebrating Black History Month by sharing some empowering stories from Black women in the health and care sector that they have been inspired by.
They included the story of the story of Zipporah Ali, an inspirational Black woman who founded the Kenyan Palliative Care Association; and Mary Jane Seacole, a Black woman who made a significant contribution to health and care over 200 years ago.
Acorn’s Children’s Hospice, Birmingham
As part of the Black History Month celebrations at Acorns Children’s Hospice at Selly Oak, they put up a fantastic literary display in their lunchroom.
It featured a number of inspirational Black figures alongside a collection of topical books, from poetry to short stories.
Saint Francis Hospice, Essex
"Working at Saint Francis Hospice, I feel welcome, accepted and valued.”
Christine, a physiotherapist at Saint Francis Hospice, Essex, has been working at the Hospice since 2020. She explains why she loves working at the Hospice – and how having a diverse work force can really help people under a hospice’s care to feel more comfortable.
Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield
Ashgate Hospice in North Derbyshire produced three large format Black History Month display boards for their reception area, with information on what we celebrate this year, and why it’s important – with a focus on the role Black women have played in shaping British history.
On X / Twitter, they shared the story of Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, a British pioneer in the field of sickle cell & thalassemia care. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people with these conditions.
Prince of Wales Hospice, Pontefract
Prince of Wales Hospice showed their support for Black History Month – highlighting black women's healthcare contributions – by sharing a video by the BBC honouring Mary Seacole, a prominent figure in British history.
Mary was a Jamaican-born nurse who overcame racism and injustice to nurse soldiers during the Crimean War, leaving a lasting contribution to nursing and health care.
North London Hospice
“If I were to go back to when I was at school – I went to school in London – my history was never recognised in the history classes. There was a lot that could have been taught. If everyone has the same awareness, it can unite everyone to be as one.”
Colleagues at North London Hospice talk in this video about the importance of celebrating Black history at the hospice and beyond, and share what Black History Month means to them.
St Catherine’s Hospice, West Sussex & East Surrey
In this article, St Catherine’s shine a spotlight on some of the remarkable Black figures who have made enduring impacts on healthcare and the hospice movement, not only transforming the landscape of healthcare but also bringing comfort and solace to countless individuals during their most vulnerable moments.
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Surrey
Phyllis Tuckwell also chose to celebrate British healthcare pioneer Mary Seacole – and a photo of one of their community team’s cars, who they’ve named in her honour.
Mary was voted the Greatest Black Briton in 2004, and Phyllis Tuckwell call her, “an inspiring woman and a truly great role model.”