Martlets is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and big changes are afoot to ensure the hospice continues to provide expert care for many years to come. New CEO, Claire Irving, talks about the importance of placemaking, community, and local business engagement

Mention Martlets to anyone living in and around Brighton and Hove and they are likely to tell you that a friend, family member or colleague has been touched by their care in some way; over the years, more than 34,000 local people have accessed Martlets’ services. Since opening in 1997, the hospice has been based in Wayfield Avenue, Hove, but its remit extends west to Portslade, north to Falmer and as far east as Newhaven. 

Claire Irving joined the organisation in March of this year and is leading on exciting plans to keep Martlets caring for many years to come.

“Over the past 25 years, expectations of hospice care have changed significantly,” says Claire. “As we look to the future, we need to upgrade our facilities. To achieve this, Martlets will be rebuilding a large section of the hospice this summer and we will temporarily close our doors at Wayfield Avenue. Our staff will continue to deliver expert care at temporary sites across our community.”

Martlets’ inpatient unit will be relocating to a private floor at Maycroft Manor Care Home in Brighton, and Claire is keen to point out that patients and families will continue to access the amazing care and support they have come to expect from Martlets.

“We may be shifting our location for a while, but Martlets will remain at the heart of the community and local people will still have full access to all our services,” she explains. “That includes our inpatient unit, caring for people in their own homes, and outpatient services such as physio, rehab and counselling.”

Meanwhile, construction will begin at the Wayfield Avenue site. The new facilities will include 14 ensuite rooms and more space for patients and their loved ones to spend time together. It will also increase the space available to offer outpatient appointments.

“We want to offer comfort and dignity as well as a high level of clinical and supportive care, so that families can experience their time together as richly as possible. That aspect is a crucial part of placemaking in healthcare.”

Patients and families visiting Martlets were asked what additional facilities they would like to see in the new building.

“Our patients told us that ‘cuddle beds’ would make a big difference so that their children and loved ones could cuddle up alongside them when they visited,” explains Claire. “So, we’re providing larger beds and creating more space for families to spend time together. Our new inpatient unit will also provide garden access from all rooms.”

“Life expectancy has increased over the past 25 years which is good news,” adds Claire, “but it does mean we’re seeing a lot more patients with illnesses that occur in later life such as Alzheimer’s. Our aim is to engage with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and to provide specialist care for many more facing terminal illness in our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

“We rely on the generosity of the local business community, and we know that businesses aren’t just faceless entities, they are comprised of people and individuals.”

Community-building continues to be key for the charity as it moves into this new phase of development.

“We have an amazing business community that supports Martlets in so many varied ways,” says Claire. “Please get in touch and help us understand your needs as a business. From exciting individual fundraising challenges to booking a group table at our Halloween Ball or sponsoring an event, we’ll connect you with an opportunity that works for you and your team.”

To find out more about Martlets’ business partnership opportunities, contact Susi Owusu, Partnerships and Philanthropy Manager, on 07469 855568 or email

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