• Charlotte Davis
  • |
  • 4 September 2017

It is with a great deal of pride that we are now able to formally open our new, purpose built and equipped Day Hospice. It has been a long journey and we acknowledge the many hundreds of supporters, staff, patrons and trustees who have in so many ways made the formal opening of Butterfly House on 5th September 2017 possible.

Our History 

The use of the term hospice, relating to care of people with a life-limiting medical condition can be traced back in Western society to the 11th century. Modern Hospice care was developed by the pioneering work of Dr Cicely Saunders who established St Christopher’s Hospital, Sydenham, London, in 1967. Hospices focus on palliative care by clinical professionals together with both material and spiritual support, to make the end of physical life as positive and peaceful as possible. In the U.K. alone there are more than 200 hospice organisations looking after over 360,000 patients annually. It should be noted that the number of people expected to live longer than 85 years in the U.K. alone, is expected to double over the next twenty years, which will increase the number of patients needing palliative care in some form. The types of conditions that are considered life-limiting are changing all the time, as better medical treatments and medication are developed. For example, many cancerous conditions are now treatable, controlled or eliminated which could not have been done in the past. Palliative care is specialised care for people with a terminal illness - an illness that is progressive and has no cure. It is holistic care, addressing the physical and medical needs, as well as the emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs of the affected person, their family, carers and community. Therefore, it is an ever changing requirement which also relates to clients and families, religious / cultural background, expectations, age and medical history, funding available and expertise in effective palliative care. Apart from the highest level of clinical and psychotherapy care, complementary services may include: friendship support; support and education / guidance for carers; understanding; religious support (generally multi faith, often with a chapel incorporated into the hospice); Complementary Healing in many different forms; Reflexology; Reiki; body massage; Indian Head massage; Aromatherapy; art, music and pet therapies. In addition, professional support for both patients and their family, with advice and guidance of other services available, is normally provided.

In the U.K. Hospices are mainly funded by charitable donations, bequests, lotteries and all manner of fund raising activities that, where possible, should have an element of enjoyment. Charity shops provide income but also awareness of the hospice which is within the catchment area, rather than a national charity. Government funding is limited and can never fund the level of service provided by hospice charities. In other countries, hospices, where they exist, may be linked to religious orders, insurance companies, government funding, or they may just be hospitals that provide some level of palliative care. In some cultures, the approach to end of life experience relies on family and friends providing home care.

The origins of South Bucks Hospice date back to the 1980’s when a nurse at Wycombe General Hospital called Edie Pusey hailed from  the town of Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland, had the insight to provide suitable nursing and supportive care for people with life threatening rare illnesses in a way that medical science alone couldn’t provide. Edie embarked on her one woman crusade in 1986 to build a hospice in the High Wycombe area and started to fund raise for “The cause” by having a clear out of her loft and sell the items at a car boot sale raising the magnificent sum of £2.63. Not to be disheartened because she was the driving force in the early days and did a sponsored 1,000 mile charity walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats then typically a diversion, across the sea by ferry, to walk from Larne to her birthplace in Newtownards. This walk raised the princely sum of over £9,000. At this time she had no idea that she was suffering from a cancerous condition and succumbed to the disease in 1989. However, her dream began to be fulfilled; after four years of fund raising by a group of friends and supporters for what was then called The Universal Hospice Trust set up a team of home care nurses in 1999, following agreement with Wycombe Health Authority; the eight “Edie Pusey Nurses” were funded. This team provided a 24-hour service and originally managed by the Nurse Manager at Booker Community Hospital (now a housing estate) providing nursing for terminally-ill patients in their own homes, within the Wycombe Hospital Authority area. This home care service was maintained till 1999.

After nine years of vigorous fund raising, a domestic property was located at 9a Amersham Hill, High Wycombe, which could be converted to a Day Hospice. Being well aware of the costs of running a hospice, the organisation ensured that there were sufficient funds to purchase the property, convert it and have sufficient reserves to fund the first year’s running costs. Although there were local objections, authorisation to operate the Day Hospice was granted. Now known as Pusey House, South Bucks Hospice was opened 8th February 1995 by the singer, dancer and entertainer Frankie Vaughan CBE who also happened to be Deputy High Lord Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire (her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II representative). Over the years many improvements were made to the building with the conversions of the garage to an area, where patients could eat and enjoy various activities such as art therapy. The adjacent house was obtained by the charity from accumulated funds. This was originally as a rental source of income but a possible extension of the existing hospice. In recent times the administration offices with the two gardens and car parks being combined for the benefit of the clients, allowing the much needed space in Pusey House for the hospice services.

Funds generation has always been a challenge with all manner of events taking place; although some activities are no longer viable mainly due to changing habits. Some of the highlights over the years have been; the Snowdrop Sunday at West Wycombe House with the kind permission of Lord Dashwood; the largest ever Tombola, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, (to this day); Winter Balls; Golf Days to name just a few. The Hospice Lottery partnership, now with five other hospices in the area, which we have been members of since its inception in 1997, provides a steady income stream. Prudent investments, of surplus funds, in the past have contributed to the financial position .All together with support from corporate businesses, charitable trusts and organisations supporting charitable activities, legacies and individual supporters. Government funding for hospice services has always been limited and never sufficient for the standard of care offered by SBH.

It was always accepted that Pusey House was not ideal and of insufficient size and layout to provide all our services under one roof’ and to cater for the identified needs in the future. The concept of a purpose built “state of the art” building, in congenial surroundings with sufficient space was a brave wish list by the Trustees and the South Bucks Hospice team of clinical and administration staff, supported, as always, by our loyal team of volunteers and supporters.

The old Kingswood Junior School (with extensive playing fields) site became available from Bucks County Council as a development site. After many difficult negotiations, agreement was reached to purchase the land, and planning permission was granted along with the planning permission for the housing estate, of which the hospice is an integral part as a community service facility.

The building of Butterfly House was completed internally on 3rd April 2017 (with the external works completed in 27th April 2017). Staff and patients being re-located in stages after fitting out with the building being fully operational in May2017 with the formal opening on ??? June 2017. After many delays due to land purchase and planning delays and the original architectural design work by D.P. Architects .The contract was placed, as a design and build contract with Jarvis Contracting Ltd. The Quantity Surveys acting on behalf of SBH being Woodson Drury of High Wycombe. The SBH staff acting in the role of Project Manager was Snow Knoester supported by the SBH team and the Trustees of SBH.

This new building, costing about £5 million is now fully operational. The building has three floors and we hope and trust will develop into a Centre of Excellence, for palliative care and the training of specialist personnel from around the world in hospice care. Butterfly House incorporate specialist clinical services, including lymphedema, baths with hoists for patients with special mobility needs, counselling rooms, a dedicated room for young (17-25) patients, catering with a professional standard kitchen, socialising areas with an orangery, peace garden and chapel. In addition, there are offices for the administrative support staff. The building has been constructed to the highest standards with state of the art heating systems, air conditioning and a lift – plus plenty of car parking spaces. The building achieved a BREEAM score good  (BREEAM inspires developers and creators to excel, innovate and make effective use of resources. The focus on sustainable value and efficiency makes BREEAM certified developments attractive property investments and generates sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them).

Agreement to sell 9a & 9b Amersham Hill was agreed with a developer and assisted in the funding of Butterfly House. The Lymphoedema Clinic was located in rented accommodation at Cedar Barn, Barn Lane, Hazelmere, High Wycombe, these services were re-located to the new hospice in April 2017.

We know that future needs will change as medical science develops and the building can cope with changes but importantly serve the growing needs on all persons requiring palliative care, irrespective of religion, culture, ethnic background, gender all within our ability to provide suitable specialised services within our limitations.

We would record our sincere thanks to those individuals, companies, educational establishments, organisations with a charitable ethos, charitable trusts, and customers in our retail outlets – in fact all those who have provided funding and physical support for our vital work in the community.

Patient facilities at Butterfly House

Car Parking

The Hospice has a large car park for, with an  Electric Car charging bay and is fully illuminated. Access to the main entrance of Butterfly House from the car park being via ramps. There is a drop off bay at the front entrance for patient transport and additional street parking is available in Kingswood Park.

Mobility Access

Butterfly House and its grounds are fully accessible for wheelchair and other mobility devices, with a lift to all floors and washroom facilities.

Hearing loop (audio induction loop) for all relevant area.


Our nurses are specialist in the palliative care of people with life limiting conditions helping then to manage their condition in the most beneficial way. No two people’s needs are the same and the aim is always to offer the highest level of care and support possible.


Lymphoedema is a chronic condition which causes a build-up of fluid in tissues. It can occur in any part of the body but is most common in the arms or legs. Lymphoedema can cause an aching or heavy feeling in the part of the body affected leading to problems with mobility. Our specialised clinical staff, provide treatments that include manual drainage, compression, skin care and exercise protocol.

Respite and Companionship

Our hospice community endeavours to provide companionship and a positive and joyful environment for socialising. The Orangery is partly hosed in a conservatory type section of the ground floor with “indoor plants and looks out on the Butterfly Walk garden, which in time will be available for everyone to enjoy. The garden design was generously undertaken by The Greenfingers Charity as the South Bucks Hospice garden consultants. The construction and planting activities for all the garden areas, was undertaken during mid-2017 following the main building works completion.

We have a refreshment area known as “The Butterfly Bistro” where meals and refreshments can be taken supported by a professional standards kitchen


In certain cases the side effects of medication and the general physical condition of clients can benefit with specialised physiotherapy. Various mechanical devices are available to assist in this therapy.

Psychology, Bereavement counselling and support for family and friends.

Professional councillors provide one to one and family consultations to help to come to terms with the diagnosed condition. Aiming to be positive and helping the client and family to cope in difficult circumstances.


We have a multi-faith chapel that our Chaplaincy Team can use to provide spiritual support and understanding to clients, family and if needed support for front line staff and volunteers who may need this facility.

Complementary Therapies

There are suitably fitted out consulting rooms for the provision

of complementary therapies such as massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and other therapies; to boost our patients' physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. Using fully qualified practitioners, normally as volunteers.

Young Persons Room

A special place for our younger patients (16 to 28) which incorporates a multi-coloured variable lighting system, audio/visual equipment,

Wellbeing Room

This is an area that enables such activities as hair dressing, foot massage bathing, beauty treatments, aromatherapy and nail manicure - all for the wellbeing of the hospice clients, to take place.

Training Room

The building incorporates a purpose designed training facility with its own kitchen, this room has modern audio/visual equipment, induction loop hearing aid system, and controllable lighting and can accommodate meetings and training activities. Apart from our own training requirements the room will be used for courses and small conferences for others, generally relating to hospice activities.

Supporting roles

  • Management of Hospice and retail outlets
  • Fund raising
  • Publicity
  • Communication – Web Page, Twitter, Facebook, Publicity
  • Accountancy
  • Human Resources
  • Building maintenance

Continued Professional Development 

All staff and volunteers are given supportive initial and on-going training, either in-house or external, to ensure we maintain the highest level of managing the hospice’s activities, in its various disciplines. Therefore, utilising new ideas and best practice for the hospice’s services, to ensure continuing professional development of the staff, volunteers and trustee teams; all in a constructive and added value manner.

Involvement with Research

TSBCH takes an active involvement in research and development in matters relating to palliative care ensuring that we contribute and learn from the experience.

Links with other Professional Organisations

We maintain professional links with other organisations working in the same areas of interest as South Bucks Community Hospice and include:

  • Hospice UK
  • Other Hospices nationally and worldwide.
  • The British Lymphology Society
  • British Medical Council
  • NHS at local and national
  • RCN Royal College of nursing
  • Skills for Health and Skills for Care

Our future aspirations

We aim to provide the highest possible care for our patients incorporating changes in systems of treatment and Health Care guidance and requirements. To constantly review with demographics, ethnicity, faith and palliative care requirements of our patients and prospective patients in the longer term. To become a first class training facility for professional and volunteer personnel in the hospice care sector.

To be the Centre of Excellence – World Wide – for Day Hospice care in all its aspects


  • Steve Baker MP  – Member of Parliament for High Wycombe
  • Mike Clare DL – Founder and Chair of Trustees of The Clare Foundation.
  • Mimi Harker OBE – Chairman of Chiltern District Council.
  • Roger Jefcoate CBE DL  – Founder of the Sequal Trust.

Patrons are supporters of the South Bucks Community Hospice and provide valuable support in all aspects of the work of the hospice, its profile and professionalism towards the service provided.


The Trustees as Directors are responsible for the correct management and good governance of The South Bucks Hospice under their responsibilities, of this Registered Charity in all its aspects. The team of Trustees include experienced and dedicated persons with diverse backgrounds in such areas of expertise as; medical, accountancy, human resources, senior management, property, maintenance, retail, health and safety, fundraising, IT, legal, volunteering  and publicity but all contributing to the operation of the Hospice in whichever way they can.

  • Dr Michael Bowker (Chair)
  • David Balls
  • Alan Chandler
  • Trevor Davey
  • Barry Pickersgill
  • Snehal Rabheru
  • Dr James Walter
  • Philip Watkins
  • Mrs Carol Horner

Staff and Volunteers

South Bucks Hospice staff and volunteers, at the hospice as clinical and administrators and in retail and waste management outlets, are all lead by Jo Woolf – Chief Executive Officer. Our volunteers are a vital element to the work of the hospice such as receptionist duties, in retail outlets, fundraising, supporting our clinical and administrative activities all together with special events management.