The kitchen cooks 20,748 meals per year and the nurses cover 23,000 steps every day. They receive 90,000 bags of donations every 12 months and carry out 3,600 visits to patients’ homes. Oh, and 16,400 members play their weekly lottery, 1,169 of whom have played since it launched in 1993 as the UK’s first hospice lottery. This is St. Catherine’s.
Providing specialist care to people with life-shortening illness, St. Catherine’s work is vital, helping patients experience quality of life both at the hospice and in their own homes. And with this week being Hospice Care Week, the charity has teamed up with Hospice UK to raise awareness of the invaluable work that goes on behind the scenes.
A registered charity, £3.8m of St. Catherine’s £5.6m running costs are met through fundraising and donations, with an army of 1,000 staff members and volunteers on hand to ensure that families are supported from diagnosis to bereavement.
“I think people are often shocked to discover just how much goes in to the running of St. Catherine’s,” said director of community and income, Lorraine Charlesworth. “Thousands of people attend our events and organise their own fundraising activities and sponsored challenges, from running marathons and doing bungee jumps, to organising bake sales and dress-down days in the workplace.”
In her role, Lorraine oversees the hospice’s fundraising and community engagement work, which encompasses everything from the weekly lottery and the fundraising team’s events, to the trading team’s 18 charity shops and The Mill café, a community hub which helps attract some 80,000 visitors to St Catherine’s Park and from which proceeds are ploughed back into the St. Catherine’s cause.
“We constantly have to think of new and exciting ways to encourage support; we even have 35 supporters trekking the Great Wall of China in aid of St Catherine’s as we speak!” Lorraine added. “We simply wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the continued, amazing support of thousands of fundraisers and volunteers - it takes a massive team effort to provide our care.”
As well as caring for patients at the hospice, St. Catherine’s also provides specialist palliative and end-of-life support in people’s own homes across Preston, Chorley, and South Ribble. Their Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) and Hospice Support Assistants (HSAs) carry out 333 home visits each month, helping reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and assist those who want to stay at home.
Nikki Dobson, head of human resources and volunteer coordinator, said: “One of the things I love about my job is working with people right across the charity who each play an important role and make a difference to people’s lives. The theme of Hospice Care Week this year is ‘This Is What It Takes’ - [shining a] light on the effort, experience, and innovation it takes to care for local people.
“There are many who work hard behind the scenes, such as our 22 ‘befrienders’ who spend time with patients at home [and] volunteers who make beautiful flower arrangements to brighten up patients’ rooms,” Nikki added.
With a qualified team of therapists and social workers offering patients and their loved ones support, St. Catherine’s nursing team alone boasts a combined 1,054 years’ experience. “We pride ourselves on providing truly personalised care which helps patients to live well with dignity, comfort, [and] independence,” said Jimmy Brash, director of care.
“There are also lots of special touches which take place at St Catherine’s which make a big difference - birthday parties and weddings, a grant-funded virtual reality initiative which takes patients all around the world from the comfort of their rooms; and Christmas dinner so families can really make St Catherine’s a home from home,” Jimmy added. “This is what it takes to provide hospice care - it goes much further than the clinical work.”