A VOLUNTEER-RUN hospice near Llandysul providing free care for people with life-limiting illnesses and support for their families and friends, has re-opened its doors to in-patients for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Skanda Vale Hospice, which provides a nurse-led patient-centred service in Saron and offers 24-hour care for up to a week each month, was forced to close in 2020, but the dream of welcoming back in-patients finally became a reality on 14 February after three long years.

Although day patients have been attending once a week since last year, the hospice had been unable to reopen its overnight respite service because many of the volunteers needed to staff the service were unable to return following the pandemic.

Founded in 1993 by the monks and nuns of the Skanda Vale multi-faith monastery in nearby Llanpumpsaint, the Hospice is all but unique in that it employs only a handful of paid staff, and is managed and run by a mainly unpaid workforce.

“It is a great joy to be able to open again after three years and there is a very real sense of fulfilment that we have been able to recover and welcome back patients once again after Covid,” said Brother Jakob, hospice manager.

“I am very happy and excited that today has finally arrived and we all feel deeply fulfilled to finally be reopening and providing such a valuable and necessary service once again.

“Our volunteer team was shattered by the prolonged closure.

People’s lives changed in many ways during that time so many were no longer available.

“To be able to build ourselves back up has been a truly beautiful thing.”