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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Hospital Chaplain bringing Christmas spirit to the Cumberland Infirmary

Hospital Chaplain bringing Christmas spirit to the Cumberland Infirmary

Posted on Tuesday 17th December 2013
anne roberts

Anne Roberts, Hospital Chaplain

Anne Roberts, Hospital Chaplain at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle is working hard to offer support and bring some Christmas spirit to patients, relatives and staff this year.

There will be various Christmas events that everybody can get involved with starting today Monday 16 December:

  • Monday 16 December, 7.00-7.30pm – Carol Service in the atrium. Carols will be led by the Salvation Army Band who will start to play at 6.45pm. Relatives and friends can bring patients if they are well enough to leave the wards.
  • Sunday 22 December, 11-11.30am – Carols ‘songs of praise’ in the Chapel on Level 1. Patients, relatives and staff are all welcome.
  • Monday 23 December, 6.30-7.00pm – Carol singing on the wards.
  • Christmas Eve – Holy Communion at patients’ bedsides.
  • Christmas Day, 10.30-11.00am – Christmas Day morning worship in the Chapel for anyone who would like to attend – relatives can accompany patients.

As hospital chaplain, Anne has a unique role in North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and is not just there to meet people’s religious needs – some patients and their visitors may find it helpful to talk to somebody about how they are feeling. The service is available 365 days a year and Anne recognises that Christmas is a particularly difficult time for patients and their relatives: “Christmas is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate so it can be extremely frustrating for our patients and their families. People have more time to sit and think in hospital and molehills can become mountains very quickly.

“I hope that the services I hold over Christmas along with support from the chaplaincy volunteers, can offer at least a glimpse of festive cheer.”

Anne Roberts started full-time as Ecumenical Chaplain at the Cumberland Infirmary in May 2011 after moving to Cumbria. Anne was ordained as a Church of England Minister in 1996 and started as a hospital chaplain straight away in Shrewsbury and then Oswestry. Anne works alongside Father Jim Allen who is part-time Roman Catholic Chaplain and also Parish Priest of St Bede’s, Wigton Rd. Fr Jim has been a priest for over forty years, and has served in the Royal Navy/Royal Marines for twelve years as a Catholic chaplain between 1978 and 1990.

“The role of a chaplain involves giving patients, relatives and staff time… simply being available and willing to listen to them”, Anne explains. “If you are in hospital, all of your ‘norms’ have gone and emotions can come to the surface. People may be facing loss, uncertainty or pain and whereas some prefer to deal with their fears on their own, others may want to articulate them.

“Chaplains offer spiritual care, which is always patient-led and will therefore vary from person to person. For some it will involve religious ritual such as prayer, for many it is more about trying to make sense of their particular journey. We have a shared responsibility, along with all the healthcare professionals, to meet the spiritual needs of people of all faiths, or none, and we can call people in if necessary.

“I will be visiting the wards to see as many people as I can before and during the festive period.”