About us

Martlets is a local charity that provides terminally ill people in Brighton and Hove, and surrounding areas, with the very best care and support.

Our expert team helps patients live life to the full during the precious time they have left.

Martlets opened in 1997. The staff and services were formed from the merger of three separate charities: Coppercliff Hospice, Tarner and MacMillan Day Hospice. Across the hospice services, more than 25,000 local people have been supported and cared for since 1997.

Most people receive care from us in their own homes. Outpatients also visit our hospice for pain relief, physiotherapy, counselling, welfare advice and social activities. Others choose to spend their final days here, or to join us as inpatients for respite care or symptom management.

Thank you for your generous support – it enables us to provide exceptional care that changes lives.

Our history

Ever wondered what the three birds in Martlets' logo represent?

Martlets opened its doors in 1997 and was formed from the merger of three separate charities: Coppercliff Hospice, the Tarner Home and MacMillan Day Hospice – hence the three birds in our logo.

A martlet is a mythical heraldic bird which is thought to represent the swift or house martin. Martlets have been traditionally associated with Sussex for centuries and appear on the Sussex county crest. They are typically shown in perpetual flight with open wings and no feet, never stopping to sleep. As part of our logo, they represent Martlets’ ethos of round-the-clock care – we are always ready to respond to the needs of our community.

A city with a history of high-quality care

Brighton has a long history of providing charitable care for those affected by terminal illness. In 1935 the Tarner Home was established which, through a generous endowment, provided care to the seriously ill who could not afford private nursing home fees. On a similar basis, Coppercliff (which later became Coppercliff Hospice) came into existence in 1967.

As charities, both organisations were unique in providing their services at a cost affordable to everyone. Over the years, medical conditions became more complex and it was becoming impossible to meet patients’ needs from the restricted facilities of converted houses. In 1994, fundraising began to build a purpose-built hospice to meet the changing needs of the local community.

Martlets moving forward

Prince Charles hosted a well-attended and profitable fundraising reception for us at the Royal Pavilion in 1995 and Martlets opened in 1997, providing far better inpatient accommodation, greatly improved clinical facilities and a larger skilled staff body. The hospice will continue to provide the very best facilities and care within the inpatient unit and through its day services support. As we move forward, I also envisage there being an increase in the clinical care given to patients in their own homes.

Kevin Smyth, Martlets trustee, 2009-19

In 1997 the hospice opened with 18 beds. Six months later the day hospice service began and Hospice at Home was launched five years after that. A decade after opening we launched Martlets Care, a commercial domiciliary care company providing quality care in the home, which also provided a sustainable income stream for the hospice.

Martlets has always relied on the support of the local community for the majority of its funding, along with grants from the NHS. Since opening we have benefitted from three major grants (exceeding £1.2 m) from NHS England. These funds have enabled us to adapt to meet the changing needs of our patients and their families through the refurbishment and extension of our facilities.

Across the hospice services, more than 25,000 local people have been cared for since 1997. We support those affected by life-limiting illnesses including terminal cancer, motor neurone disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease. Our expert team helps people do the things they love with the time they have.

It’s all about building relationships. You only have to walk through the door at Martlets and you’re greeted with a smile and niceness from absolutely everybody. I don’t think people realise that Martlets offers a lot of services as well as the medical side, and it’s all free to access and makes a real difference. And they don’t just care for you, they care for your whole family and those close to you.
Neason, Martlets patient

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