Funding received from National Lottery Heritage Fund

Willen Hospice are delighted to have received a £10,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to fund a short documentary film about the Hospice.

Working in partnership with Living Archive MK, the project, called ‘Willen Hospice Caring for MK since 1981’ will look back over the past 40 years, from when the Hospice first opened its doors in the early 80s. This film will showcase how a community came together to make the dream of a local Hospice into a reality, and how it has grown to become one of Milton Keynes’ best-loved charities, helping countless families over the years.

The three main themes of the short documentary are ‘Evolution’, how palliative care has changed over the last four decades, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is ‘Untold stories’, the lesser known experiences of people cared for by the Hospice, and partnerships with the local community. Finally, ‘Looking ahead’, a Hospice fit for the growing community of MK, with a first peek at the Hospice’s new extension and refurbishment as part of their ongoing Building a Legacy project.

Living Archive MK will lead on gathering the archive material, and organising interviews with key people involved with the Hospice throughout its history. As well as examining the Hospice’s own records, the team will be inviting local people to share their stories, photographs and documents about Willen Hospice at a ‘Down Memory Lane’ event at the end of April. More details about this event will be available on the Willen Hospice website.

Peta Wilkinson, Willen Hospice CEO, said, “This is an exciting opportunity to tell the story of Willen Hospice. Our origin is truly unique, where members of the ‘New Town’, with Milton Keynes’ being just 14 years old in 1981, helped to fundraise and pioneer for their own local Hospice. This documentary film belongs to everyone in Milton Keynes, past, present and future, without whom we would not be here today. I would also like to say a huge thank you to The National Lottery Heritage fund for making this project possible, and Living Archive MK and all of their fantastic volunteers.”

Mel Jeavons, Living Archive MK General Manager, said, “Living Archive are delighted to be involved in this project to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Willen Hospice. We are looking forward to collecting and sharing the stories of people involved in this incredible organisation that has become such a much- loved part of MK’s fabric as they have grown together over the last 40 years.”

The documentary film is to be completed by the end of summer, ready for a free public screening during the Heritage Open Days week in September 2022.

Members of the public who have any historic photos, literature or memorabilia relating to Willen Hospice over the years are encouraged to share this with Living Archive before 15th April so copies can be displayed at the Down Memory Lane Event. Please contact Mel Jeavons on 01908 322568 or email