Over 1,500 people have visited the Treetops Wellbeing Café since it opened its doors last January. The weekly Café is open to adults with a life-limiting illness, or those who’ve been bereaved, along with their families and friends.

Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, respiratory conditions and heart failure.

The Café, which runs every Thursday, 10am-3.30pm, is one of several new Wellbeing Services aimed at encouraging people to maintain their quality of life and capacity to care for themselves.

Alongside a Get Moving exercise group, Art Group, Singing Group, and supported-bathing Spa Days, a new support group for adults with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) – Mollie’s – is being launched in February.

Mollie’s MND Support Group offers peer and professional support for anyone affected by MND – patients, families and carers. The drop-in sessions will run on the first Friday of each month, starting Friday 7 February.

The group has been named ‘Mollie’s’ in memory of Mollie Southway from Sandiacre. Mollie, and her husband John, first visited the Café shortly after her diagnosis.

Devastating diagnosis

John, explained:

“Mollie’s condition first manifested when she struggled with simple mobility tasks such as walking up the stairs. Mollie felt something serious could be wrong and her GP at first was puzzled, but after explaining her concerns, an appointment with a neurologist was suggested. The result was of course, the devastating diagnosis of motor neurone disease.”

Mollie’s four daughters – Teresa Rawlings, 55yrs, Fran Wright, 59yrs, Linda Bendall, 60yrs and Lesley Saxton, 64yrs, – and her close friends are all deeply touched that the new group is being named after Mollie.

She was a lively, independent, loving person

Mollie’s daughters said:

“Mum was fully aware of her condition from day one. Brave and accepting with grace and humility, she retained her sense of humour right until the end, always up for a giggle with a cheeky glint in her eye. She was a lively, independent, loving person and a shining example to us all.

“She certainly did not deserve to struggle herself with this devastating condition over her last two years with us. She continued to teach all of us even when her own health was failing – I think we only then really understood the importance of family, but even the four of us could not offer all the support mum needed.

“MND is such a terribly cruel disease, with new physical challenges occurring practically daily. We often felt inadequate and unprepared as the disease took a stronger hold.

A much needed break for dad and a welcome change of scene for mum

“Mum, and our family, were initially supported by the wonderful MND team at the QMC, who introduced us to Treetops. Mum and dad always received a very warm welcome from the staff at the Wellbeing Café. It provided a much needed break for dad and a welcome change of scene for mum.

“Creating a support group will provide comfort and reassurance to other MND patients and we’re especially touched that the group is named after our dear mum.

Opportunity to create hope amongst loss

“She would’ve been extremely flattered to have such a worthwhile service named after her and it’s a wonderful tribute that will allow us as a family to honour her memory forever. Thank you to Treetops for providing this opportunity to create hope amongst loss.”

A safe place to come for support and information

Ali Jordan, Treetops senior staff nurse, said:

Wellbeing staff and volunteers celebrate first birthday of Cafe

“We’re thrilled to celebrate this Wellbeing Café birthday and welcome so many people in such a short space of time since we opened.

“The Café is a huge success with over thirty people coming along every week. It’s an easy and informal way for people to come to the hospice, often for the first time, and find out more about the support and services available to them.

“The new MND Support Group, in collaboration with the MNDa, will provide a safe place to come for support and information from Treetops, MNDa and local health professionals.

“It’s a local support group for people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to come and meet people and their families in a similar situation, a place to share tea and cake, and to find out how we can help you.”

The MND drop-in sessions will run on the first Friday of each month, 1-3pm, at Treetops, starting Friday 7 February.

Treetops services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.