Havens Hospices – which includes Fair Havens, The J’s and Little Havens – was founded in the early 1980’s by a group of Christians who identified that better care was needed for people who were dying.
Staff and volunteers do not have to be Christian to work at Havens Hospices, and patients and families are cared for based on their need. The hospices care for patients of all faiths, and those who have no faith or religion.
However, it has always been a requirement that the Trustees ‘…shall be Christian.’ It is legal to make faith a requirement of becoming a Trustee (who are volunteers), if it is seen as being pertinent to the cause. Trustees for the charity hold overall responsibility for its strategy, culture and governance.
On Tuesday 17th September, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was called for Members of Havens Hospices – like stakeholders in a business – to vote on several issues:
To amend the Articles to remove the requirements for Trustees to be Christian and for Trustees to be removed if they cease to be Christian (Articles 5.4 and 5.6(a))
To amend the Articles to remove the requirement for Members to appreciate and support the Christian faith (Article 12.3)
To change the name of the Company to Havens Hospices (it is currently Havens Christian Hospice)
To adopt the amended Articles of Association and file them with Companies House
To suspend, until November 2020, the requirement that a Trustee may not serve longer than two consecutive terms of four years (Article 5.5)
Including votes via proxy and those made at the meeting, all five resolutions were passed with the required majority of at least 75%.
A consultation had taken place in the eight weeks before the EGM which took in views and opinions from existing Members and Trustees, patients and supporters.
Director of People Trevor Johnson says, “What this vote has demonstrated to us is that our Members want Havens Hospices to be governed by people who have the right skills, attributes and commitment. We now look forward in the future to welcoming applications from members of our local community who feel they can offer this guidance, regardless of their faith or spiritual beliefs.”
Celebrating and embracing its Christian heritage and foundations has always been important to Havens Hospices with opportunities for prayer, spiritual and chaplaincy support, Thanksgiving and Light up a Life services and these will continue.
There were concerns that the history – including its Christian roots – of Havens Hospices could be lost amongst these changes. Building on that suggestion, the charity will be appointing a Trustee who will lead on heritage, values and spiritual care.
Trevor adds, “We will also be establishing a ‘Friends Group’ and inviting members of the local church community to join so that we can keep them informed of developments within our hospices. We are committed to strengthening the links with our Christian foundations and ensuring these are carried forward in the future.”
Havens Hospices provides palliative nursing and supportive care to adults, young people and children living with complex or incurable conditions.
Its specialist Care Teams can support them and their family throughout illness, death and bereavement, in the comfort of their own home or at our hospices. They focus on their quality of life, caring for individual physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs, ‘Making every day count’.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Havens Hospices, please email our volunteering team [firstname.lastname@example.org].