The Townsend-Smith Foundation had some exciting news to share at their January 24 Town Hall. They were officially allowed to begin talking about a partnership with Conestoga College. Conestoga College is in an agreement to partner with the Wilfrid Laurier University on the Milton Education Village.

The need for a hospice started with the family, and friends of Ron Townsend, a former district fire chief in 2007. Initially they were raising money with the goal of establishing a residential hospice to give palliative care to the dying. Tessie Smith died in 2009; following her death her friends and family including husband Lyndon began working towards the same goal. The two groups combined efforts, and the Townsend-Smith Foundation was incorporated in 2011.

Board Chair John Barrett announced they had permission to begin publicly talking about a partnership with Conestoga College; one of the parties involved in the Milton Education Village. “To be this close to having land where we can actually put a By Laura Steiner Photos By Sarah Arfan sign up, and make people more aware of it is really encouraging,” Barrett said. When the campus is announced, the Foundation would get a piece of land and be able to put a sign up.

The announcement came following a tour of Innisfree hospice in Kitchener. Conestoga has an agreement with the hospice organization to rent the land for $1/ year. In exchange they put a nursing suite in the basement to train their Personal support Worker, and PSW students. The thinking is that something similar could work here.

Efforts now turn to raising money to fund it. Any contribution from the Ministry of Health is allocated to staffing, leaving all the operating costs for fundraising. The board would like to see $9 million in the bank as a start. “Nobody gets out of this life alive, and if I have a choice between going in a hospital or a hospice, I’ll choose the hospice,” Barrett said. They are looking for volunteers, and donations. To find out more visit their website:
Photos by: Sarah Arfan

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