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Tŷ Olwen’s tea bar serves up a cuppa, chat and comfort for those who need it most

(From left) Tŷ Olwen Trust chair Helen Murray MBE, vice-chair Paul Murray, friend of Tŷ Olwen Jacqui Morris, volunteer Ann Sandham, receptionist Carol Morris, patient Julie Dunne, ward manager Karren Roberts, health care support worker Delyth Maddock, Julia Michael and Volunteer Support Manager Helen Martin.

A tea bar in Morriston Hospital is serving up more than just hot drinks and refreshments after reopening for the first time since the Covid pandemic.

Tŷ Olwen Hospice, which delivers specialist palliative and end of life care, has welcomed back its tea bar by popular demand.

While its range of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, toasted tea cakes and chocolates have been given the thumbs up by patients and visitors, the tea bar offers far more than its tasty treats.

Next to Tŷ Olwen’s main entrance, it gives those who use it a chance to reset, recharge or have a sense of normality during what is often a challenging time.

Dr Gwen Davies, Palliative Care Consultant at Morriston Hospital, said: “We’re delighted the Tŷ Olwen tea bar has reopened – it’s a source of comfort to relatives and staff.

“Being able to easily access some nourishment at what can be a stressful time is invaluable.

“More than this, a friendly welcome and light-hearted conversation or a friendly ear and sympathetic response from our wonderful volunteers can really impact a person’s day.”

Ann Sandham is one of the 11 volunteers who help run the tea bar.

The tea bar runs smoothly thanks to its dedicated volunteers – all 11 of which have returned following its hiatus due to the pandemic.

It is open Monday to Friday between 9am-3.30pm, with the potential of opening on weekends in the near future.

The tea bar’s reopening is another boost for Tŷ Olwen, which has recently installed a new family room fitted with a two-person sofa bed, shower and kitchenette meaning visitors can make themselves comfortable at the unit.

Helen Martin, Tŷ Olwen Hospice volunteer support manager, said: “Throughout the pandemic, it was quite clear how much patients, visitors and staff missed the tea bar.

“There were obviously restrictions which forced its temporary closure, but we were regularly asked when the tea bar would be open again.

“It’s more than just a tea bar to everyone who uses it. That goes for our volunteers too. They’ve all come back to help again and give their spare time, but they also take a lot from the camaraderie between themselves and interacting with customers.”

As well as the social aspect the tea bar brings, it also generates much-needed finances with every penny spent in the tea bar going directly to the Tŷ Olwen Trust.

Tŷ Olwen Trust chairman Helen Murray MBE said: “The tea bar gives patients and their relatives a sense of normality, and the value of that shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It’s fantastic to see it open again. The volunteers do a magnificent job and even if they serve a cup of tea to just one person during their shift – it could make such a big difference to that person’s day.”