Falcons, hawks and owls were just some of the spectacular feathered friends that delighted patients, family members and carers who are using Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s ‘Support at Home’ service.  

Over 20 patients and their loved ones visited The Falconry Centre at Webbs’ store in Hagley, where they watched an incredible flying display from the birds of prey.

Experienced falconers introduced a varied collection of birds to the group – including Scully the falcon and Barry the owl – giving an intriguing insight into their behaviours and allowing them to show off their fantastic flying skills.

After the show, the group were then treated to afternoon tea at the garden centre, where they enjoyed a delicious selection of homemade sandwiches and cakes.

Support at Home is a volunteer-led service that offers practical, social and emotional support to people, their families and carers. Trained volunteers visit people in their own homes to offer a listening ear, as well as allow family members and carers to take a break for a few hours each week.

The service holds monthly coffee afternoons at a local café in Selly Oak, giving people a chance to meet others for peer support. The visit to the Falconry Centre was a first-of-its-kind outing for the group – with patients, family members and carers describing it as a “fantastic and entertaining afternoon to spend together”.

Peter, whose partner Debbie is being cared for by the Hospice, said: “It’s my birthday today and what a fantastic way to spend it! I love birds of prey but Debbie didn’t tell me we were coming here until the last minute, so it really was a great surprise.

“I never would have thought that the Hospice could do things like this. It’s just brilliant that we can get out of the house and do fun things together, as well as meet other people who are going through something similar to us. Support at Home really has been a lifesaver.”  

Dean’s mother, Josephine, is also using the Support at Home Service. He said: “I was really surprised that an event like this wasn’t just for the people who are receiving care from the Hospice but instead, family members, loved ones and carers were welcome too. My Mum and I have loved every part of this afternoon – from learning about the birds to enjoying afternoon tea – and it’s been a great way to spend an afternoon together.”     

All of Support at Home’s services are free of charge to patients, family members, carers and loved ones. To find out more about the service, take a read here.