At ellenor, our dedication lies in supporting patients and families navigating life limiting conditions. Our mission goes beyond medical treatment, it’s about cultivating profound connections and fostering empowering experiences for all those under our care. Through our Wellbeing Services, we endeavour to meet not only the physical but also the emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and families. Our aim is to create a nurturing environment where patients and families find support and comfort.

Embedded within our guiding principles is the innovative "This Is Your Life" programme, designed to honour the unique journey of each patient. This initiative invites patients to embark on a deeply personal journey of self-reflection, where they can reminisce on cherished memories, articulate their hopes and dreams, and dig deep into their life stories. Through the creative process of putting together a scrapbook, patients create records that blend past experiences with future dreams, fostering not only a sense of connection but also a profound sense of control.

Apprentice Occupational Therapist Shania Allsop said: “It’s all about capturing those memories, but it’s also about where patients are now in their lives and looking at what they would like to do. What are their goals? Doing the scrapbooks also helps us understand each patient better. For instance, we don’t know the person they were before they became unwell.

“Scrapbooking encourages patients to get thinking, and we can give them little projects to do as homework, such as finding old photos. We are also looking at devising a smaller version of the scrapbook for patients who are on the ward.”

When a patient embarks on the 24-session This is Your Life programme, they are encouraged to fill out a questionnaire or “all about me” mind map about their lives. This can be expanded on and explored each week, giving patients time to elaborate and reminisce.

Each week scrapbookers are encouraged to talk about parts of their childhood, working life, or family and pets. Sometimes they choose not to explore some of the suggested angles and have their own ideas about what they would like to include. Their memories are written down, sometimes with help from the therapy assistants and volunteers, and photographs and pictures are added.

Later on in the project there is a section headed: “If I could…” which encourages people to think about what they would like to achieve.

There are also hand and fingerprints, and the last scrapbooking session is aimed at creating a special memory – maybe a trip away or an intimate meal with a loved one.

This is Your Life classes are held twice a week at The Manor Hotel, Gravesend, where ellenor’s Wellbeing Team is based during building work at the hospice in Northfleet. They are open to patients, family members and the bereaved.

Shania said: “Patients can bring in their own pictures and photos, but we can also help find pictures – of the sort of car they drove, for instance. The patient chooses what they would like on the front cover, the colours, and pictures they want to use and what they would like to include, and we can help with the writing if needed.

“We have some genuinely very funny moments. We share things and some of us weren’t around in the times the patients can remember so it’s a learning experience for us too. Each scrapbook is important because it will go to family members when the patient dies. If it’s completed, that’s great, but if not then it is what they have done in the time they have had.

“We would like all our patients, existing and new to have the opportunity to create a This is Your Life scrapbook. They are kept at the hospice, confidentially, and there is no pressure to work on them every week or even during the set times of the classes.”

The This is Your Life programme is part of a number of new initiatives introduced recently by the Wellbeing Team at ellenor, who are always keen to keep ideas fresh and patients engaged. There is also now a Needles and Knots class, where patients, family members and volunteers are encouraged to share skills such as knitting, crochet and sewing. These tutors are also encouraged to write “how to” notes so therapy assistants can share their talents with patients on the ward and during home visits.

There is also a newly introduced IT and Biscuits class, teaching patients, families and the bereaved basic skills such as how to use Zoom and Facetime, how to use the Internet safely, how to order shopping online and create online greetings cards.

A student in art psychotherapy is also running an art therapy group for Wellbeing patients at the moment, and the team is always looking at new ways to keep patients motivated and inspired.

Other classes on the Therapeutic Activity Group (TAG) timetable are seated exercise, arts and crafts, music, Green Shoots gardening and a Fun and Games group. There is also a mindfulness session once a week on Zoom.

All the classes are currently being held at The Manor Hotel while ellenor’s new Wellbeing Centre is under construction.


To find out more about ellenor’s TAG groups call 01474 320007 and ask for the Wellbeing Team. The groups and classes are open to all. You don’t need to be under ellenor’s care or be related to a patient