Building a Legacy


In August 2022 we completed our £4M capital building project; Building a Legacy. This project was never about bricks and mortar. It was about creating a Hospice that can meet the needs of a the diverse and growing city of Milton Keynes. With people living longer and having more complex illnesses, our services need space to expand both at the Hospice and within our community.

Built on a Legacy of Love

It simply wouldn’t have be possible to futureproof our care without the generosity and heartfelt expression of love from our community.

This build project was only realised thanks to a generous gift Shirley Hawes left Willen Hospice in her Will, with the express wish that it should be used to expand our services and serve our community well into the future.

Her generosity will make a difference to hundreds of local people every year. By leaving a legacy to Willen Hospice, you too can change the future of hospice care in your local community.

In fact, a large proportion of the investment required for the project was as a result of gifts in wills. Local supporter, Shirley Hawes kindly gifted us a substantial amount as part of her legacy pledge to Willen Hospice in 2015, with the express wish that it should be used to expand our services and serve our community well into the future.

About the Project

Aerial view of our Building a Legacy extension

The legacy of the Hospice goes back much further to the late 1970’s. Dr Marjorie Reid and Dorothy Jell shared a vision for a Hospice to provide compassionate and personalised end of life care for the people of Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

The In-Patient Unit they established in 1981 gave local people the opportunity to be cared for in a way that hadn’t been possible before. For more than 40 years, we have continued to provide care for thousands of patients and their families.

Our ‘Building a Legacy’ project enabled us to deliver 21st century Hospice care for local people. Our lakeside home has been developed and extended to give us the space to grow our services so they are fit for purpose to meet the changing needs of our patients, both now and in the future.

What’s changed?

This project has extended and reconfigured our 15 bedroom In-Patient Unit to improve patient experience, giving all those in our care a private, light and airy bedroom with calming views over the Hospice gardens and tranquil Willen Lake. Patients now have access to an outdoor terrace, the majority directly from their bedrooms, where they can spend time with their relatives and friends.

Below the In-Patient Unit extension, on the lower ground floor, we have a fantastic new Wellbeing Centre. This flexible space offers ‘drop-in’ services and a variety of activities for outpatients.
The creation of new spaces for our Patient and Family Services means we can better support the whole family, including bespoke areas for us to support children and young people during a difficult time. This centre means we can help deliver our person-centred support to complement medical intervention by addressing the physical, emotional and social needs of patients and their families. Find out more about our Therapeutic and Wellbeing services here and how we help patients meet their goals to maintain an active life and in turn, improve their mental wellbeing and independence.

Our new kitchen and café allows us to produce nutritious meals for patients and enhanced meal facilities for their visitors. The new lake view lounge offers a family-friendly environment that allows patients and their families more space to spend crucial time together.


View of Willen Hospice from the Lake

What difference will it make?

  • It will help us look after people affected by a wider range of illnesses, not just cancer. For example respiratory and neurological diseases, heart failure and dementia.
  • Allow us to care for patients earlier, making sure their time is spent in a rich and meaningful way.
  • Provide a peaceful and private setting for relatives and loved ones.
  • Expand our successful Wellbeing Centre, which gives our patients respite and a place to relax.
  • Create a building that allows us to progress our care for the future.

Building a Legacy in action

A view from above

Thanks to Factotum Films for this wonderful birds-eye view of our newly extended Hospice.

A lasting legacy


This build project would not have been possible without the generous gift Shirley Hawes left Willen Hospice in her Will.

Her generosity will make a difference to hundreds of local people every year. By leaving a legacy to Willen Hospice, you too can change the future of hospice care in your local community.


Thank you to our funders

We are very grateful to the following trusts and foundations who have provided funding to support this project:

MK Community Foundation

Bradbury Foundation

The Jim Marshall Charitable Trust

The Wolfson Foundation

Hospital Saturday Fund

David and Jennifer Adams

The Balney Charitable Trust

Eden Financial and Wealth Management Limited

Jim and Gwen Mann


Sheila Nanon

The Albert Hunt Trust

Bernard Sunley Foundation

The Inlight Trust

The Hobson Charity

Morrisons Foundation

Mazars Charitable Trust

John Turner

A beautiful new art installation

Our new building includes a specially commissioned art installation, created by local artist Lufeianna, to recognise everyone who gave to this important project for the local community. Entitled ‘Eternal Ripples’ the mirror and mesh metal art is inspired by our beautiful lakeside location and celebrates the impact of an individual act of kindness. Just as a single pebble dropped into a lake can ripple onwards with far reaching effect, often beyond what our own eyes can see, a single donation to Willen Hospice can have a greater impact than any one of us can imagine, touching the lives of the many people who need our care as well as their families and friends.

Our new Corporate Partner wall also proudly thanks the businesses who support us.


Lakeview Bedroom

Lakeview Bedroom

Lakeview Lounge

Lakeview Lounge

Our new Nurses Station

Our new Nurses Station

Our new Lakeview Café

Our new Lakeview Café

Birds-eye view of Willen Hospice

Birds-eye view of Willen Hospice

Our new Physiotherapy room

Our new Physiotherapy room


In a typical year...
our cost, per minute
phone calls to patients at home
fabulous volunteers
patients cared for at home
home visits
patients at the hospice
of cups of tea
counselling sessions
We can only provide the care we do thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, through their continued volunteering, fundraising and donations throughout the year. Your donation will enable us to continue providing care and support to those facing a life-limiting diagnosis, and to support their loved ones.