June 2020 - East Cheshire Hospice

Sunflower Centre Update

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping to reopen its Sunflower Centre in September.

The day care unit – the hub for the Hospice’s outpatient services –  has been closed for three months.

Clinical Director Sandra Jones said: “We’re taking it a day at a time, but we’re planning to have small groups back towards the start of September.

“Obviously, we’ll be adhering to social distancing and keeping footfall as low as possible. We need to make sure it’s safe for everyone who comes into the unit.

“There are logistics involved and many patients rely on our volunteer drivers to collect them.  We need to get the volunteers back on board and make sure they feel happy to go and bring people in.

“We also have volunteers who serve food and refreshments. That all depends on who’s willing to come in.”

The Sunflower Centre, managed by Helen Henshaw, has continued some services, including counselling, via phone and video calls. An online afternoon tea is popular.

Sunflower Centre manager Helen Henshaw in the day care unit.

Staff were redeployed to help the IPU and Hospice @Home teams and other areas, including laundry and housekeeping.

Sandra said: “We’ve been supporting patients with weekly calls to see how they are and signposting them to GPs and district nurses if necessary. Most just need a welfare catch up and someone to talk to and run things by.”

“The team have been fantastic, moving round to fill gaps and changing rotas at the drop of a hat to make sure we still provide a service.”

East Cheshire Hospice Inpatient Unit During Covid-19

The absence of families around the bedsides of dying patients has been one of the hardest parts of Covid-19 restrictions at East Cheshire Hospice.

Visitors have had to stay away from the inpatient unit for strict safety reasons unless a patient has been in the last days of life.

Then they have been allowed one visitor – two for a patient approaching the last few hours of life.

Clinical Director Sandra Jones said: “It’s been really difficult for staff not having relatives here because that’s not what we do.

“We care for the patient and the family holistically, working with families to prepare for the death of a loved one. Not being able to do that has been hard.

“We’ve used iPads and WhatsApp to allow patients to talk to relatives at home. We’ve encouraged them to send emails which we’ve printed off and read to patients and shown them pictures.

“It’s obviously not the same as seeing someone face-to-face but no patient has died alone. A member of staff has been with them if the family couldn’t be present for any reason.”

Confirmed Covid-19 cases among patients and staff have presented challenges for Hospice staff.

Sandra said: “We’ve had patients with unconfirmed and confirmed Covid and staff who’ve been unwell with the illness but we’ve just had to manage the best we can.

“A patient with Covid wouldn’t be treated differently to any other infectious patient. Obviously we have to ramp up the PPE but they’re still cared for exceptionally well to our usual high Hospice standards.

“Staff adhere to the strict infection control regime and use the required PPE. Our housekeeping team have ramped up their cleaning schedules to make sure there’s no spread of infection. We can’t eliminate it, but we’re risk-managing it.”

Thankfully, the inpatient ward, managed by Claire Barber, has had enough beds to cope.

Sandra added: “We’ve been within capacity and we know that from our area the wave hasn’t hit as hard as we were expecting because the NHS Trust hasn’t been at the capacity it thought it was going to be.

“Luckily, we’ve been well supported with PPE and had all the equipment we need. The amount of information and guidance we received on making sure our environment was safe was quite challenging.

“I’ve been a nurse for more than 40 years and have never come across anything like this before.”

Sandra Jones, Clinical Director at East Cheshire Hospice.

Hospice @Home during lockdown

Caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses in their own homes has been ‘challenging and emotional’ during Covid-19, according to a senior nurse at East Cheshire Hospice.

Tess Cleaver is manager of the charity’s Hospice @Home team which has made home visits during the pandemic.

While the country was on lockdown, her dedicated team were on the front-line of health care visiting patients as usual.

Gloves, aprons, water-resistant face masks and visors have been worn at all times by the 12 specialist nurses and highly-trained healthcare assistants.

Following rapidly changing guidance on PPE presented a challenge in itself.

The Hospice @Home team did have to suspend its services for two weeks early in May so further precautions could be put in place.

Tess said: “It’s been challenging and closing the service temporarily was difficult. We didn’t take the decision lightly, but it was made by the senior team to ensure we were operating in the safest possible way.

“That was our guiding factor and without that adjustment we’d have struggled to function as normal.

“We had great support from other health care providers and family members were amazing. They understood that we were doing everything to make sure we kept their loved ones safe.”

From left, East Cheshire Hospice @Home manager Tess Cleaver and healthcare assistants Kim Lamb and Karen Buckley.


Hospice @Home now covers 24 hours a day – it had operated overnight and at weekends until April.  The extension was planned before coronavirus.

Tess added: “We’ve had to make a lot of changes and be adaptable and the response from Hospice staff has been fantastic. Everyone has pulled together.

“Staff have been flexible, helping out in other Hospice roles when we shut down, and I can’t thank them enough.

“When the virus started some patients were scared. They wanted us to get in touch, but didn’t want staff visiting to reduce footfall in their homes.

“Then when they saw us and district nurses wearing the PPE that was re-assuring.

“Staff might finish visiting at 8 pm during the Clap for Carers and that was touching. It was lovely for the clinical staff on the inpatient ward to receive a visit from Macclesfield police one Thursday.

“One staff member had to move away from a relative who was in the high risk group. It’s been emotional at times and we’ve all had to make difficult decisions.”

Some staff tested positive for coronavirus and guidelines were followed immediately. Thankfully, those affected are now recovered.

Emayoga Class and Ryan Giggs’ Message

Yoga teacher Emma Hall is holding a virtual one-hour Zoom class on Saturday, June 27, from 9 am as her way of helping East Cheshire Hospice.

All proceeds will go to the Hospice which treated her friend Sarah Shackleton-Lamptey who died of breast cancer in 2014, age 36.

All abilities are welcome to join the yoga class and participants will be charged £5, with the option to donate more.

Yoga teacher Emma Hall.

Emma has taught yoga for five years, although it has been part of her life for 26 years.

Clients, including a number of large north west companies, have been joining her classes online during lockdown.

The mother of four sons said: “These yoga classes are designed to be accessible for anyone – of any age, flexibility, or ability level.

“So if you’re new to yoga, or looking for a greater challenge, then hopefully you’ll join the classes and raise money for a great cause.”

* To sign up visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/emayoga-live.


Meanwhile, ex-Manchester United star Ryan Giggs has sent a message of support for a fundraising campaign by Sarah’s husband Carl Lamptey.

Giggs said: “We need your support more than ever during these difficult times so please support the Hospice.”

Former City players Joe Corrigan and Michael Brown have also added their names to the appeal which has raised over £15,000 alone through Carl’s Just Giving page.

* To support Carl visit justgiving.com/fundraising/carl-lamptey6.

£26,000 on its way to local charities thanks to Leek United

A massive £26,000 is on its way to three local charities, including East Cheshire Hospice, following a hugely successful campaign of fundraising events run by the staff of Leek United Building Society.



The campaign saw all 200 of the Society’s management and staff hold more than 20 different events, including a virtual quiz, a charity auction and a 600 miles endurance challenge. These events generated £13,000 which was then matched by the Society pound for pound, leading to the incredible grand total of £26,000. This will be split equally between Home-Start Staffordshire Moorlands, Treetops Hospice Care, Derbyshire and East Cheshire Hospice.

Andrew Healy, Leek United Building Society’s chief executive, said: “The past few months have been difficult for everyone, not least our local charities whose income has fallen as a result of events being cancelled and shops being closed. I’m really delighted with how our wonderful team of staff have rallied to support these three charities. They’ve been not only kind but also exceptionally creative in coming up with fun ways to generate badly-needed funds just when they’re needed most.”

Kate Bowmar, corporate fundraiser at East Cheshire Hospice, said: “All of us at East Cheshire Hospice are so grateful for the long term support of Leek United Building Society.

“The money donated from this fundraising campaign will mean we can continue to provide vital end of life care in our local community at a time when fundraising events have been significantly impacted. Thank you to everyone involved for raising such an incredible amount.”

Macc Virtual Open Art Exhibition

The Macclesfield Open Art Exhibition is back – in an online format showcasing work from all ages and abilities.

The virtual display, featuring hundreds of works by mostly local artists, runs from Friday, June 12, until Sunday, August 16.

The exhibition, which ran for five years until 2018 at the Silk Museum, has been revived by organiser Geoff Archer to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

Instead of paying an entry fee, artists have made donations to the Hospice and with most works for sale they are requested to make a donation in lieu of the commission on sales.

Geoff said: “The exhibition was extremely popular but eventually there was nowhere in town to hold it and in the current situation I thought it’d be interesting to do it online.

“The exhibition is open to all artists, amateur or professional and there’s no age limit. Most artists are from this area but we’ve had one entry from Australia, from an artist who used to live in Macclesfield.

“Artists were allowed to submit a maximum of three works. Usually there’s a selection process at galleries because of lack of space to hang items, but in this case everything submitted will be shown.”

The public can view exhibits at maccopen.org.uk.

Geoff, from Macclesfield, is a painter and was head of art at Henbury High School for around 30 years.

Geoff Archer with one of his paintings Pick Up which will be in the exhibition.

Volunteers Begin to Return

Some volunteers are returning to East Cheshire Hospice after they were stood down because of Covid-19.


The first receptionist was back on the front desk last Thursday – coincidentally during Volunteers Week.

Several days earlier the gardening team returned to their duties and other volunteer roles will be re-introduced according to strict safety guidelines.

That means charity shop helpers will not return until next month and it could be some time before volunteers will be back on the ward and in other patient-facing roles.

Voluntary Services Co-ordinator Helena Smith said: “The message to our 650 volunteers is that we’re missing you.

“Our volunteers bring something special to the Hospice and we’re looking forward to seeing them again.

“While we’re genuinely excited about having them back, it’s going to take us a while to see all the teams return.

“The most important consideration is that we ensure people are safe, and feel safe. Everyone has pitched in to make the place work, with staff switching into different roles.

“But the last two or three months has shown us what we knew all along – that we couldn’t exist without our incredible volunteers.”

With some Hospice staff also self-isolating, colleagues have been switching jobs to help on reception, in the kitchen, laundry room and with cleaning duties.

One of first volunteers back was Stan Wiseman, from Prestbury, whose work in the garden is in memory of his late wife Sara, who died in the Hospice in 2016.

Like her husband, Sara was also a Hospice volunteer for many years and was an ambassador.

Volunteer Stan Wiseman with his rescue dog Lola at East Cheshire Hospice.

Stan said: “I know the Hospice is looking for more gardeners and I’d recommend it. I help out every Wednesday and really enjoy it. As you can imagine, the garden had got out of hand after not being touched for 10 weeks.”

* To volunteer as a gardener email h.smith@echospice.org.uk

Pour Moi’s Charity Edit

A lingerie brand set up by a Macclesfield businessman is helping East Cheshire Hospice in its hour of need.

Pour Moi will share half of sales from its new Charity Edit collection between four charities on the front line of the fight against Covid-19.

The company was founded by owner Michael Thomson in a tiny office above a Macclesfield shop 15 years ago.

From left, Pour Moi staff Rachel Kirk Lockley and brothers Dominic, Kenn and Toby Davenport. 

Pour Moi has a main distribution centre on the Hurdsfield Estate where staff nominated the Hospice for its Charity Edit offer featuring lingerie, swimwear, loungewear and sportswear.

The Hospice could receive a £25,000 donation after Pour Moi pledged to raise a minimum of £100,000 during May and June.

Pour Moi is now a successful international brand but has not forgotten its roots and has launched a  #LetsDoThis campaign featuring staff showing Love Heart signs.

Age UK, Samaritans and RISE, a domestic violence charity in Brighton, where the company is now based, are the other charities to benefit.

Michael said: “These four charities do amazing work all year round but are now suffering from the double whammy of massive increased demand for their services and a dramatic drop in funding – both caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Like lots of people, we were wondering what we could do to help the many vulnerable people in this time of urgent need and the Charity Edit collection is our response. It’ll provide much-needed funds for the charities in their greatest hour of need as well as help publicise the sterling work that each of them does.”

Michael Thomson, founder and owner of Pour Moi, with his Love Heart sign

Pour Moi has managed to carry on trading during the crisis, although it had to furlough around half its Macclesfield staff numbering more than 40 employees..

Head of Operations Rachel Kirk Lockley has personal experience of the Hospice after her father Alan died there in 2010.

Rachel, from Macclesfield, said: “My dad was a patient for less than a week and the care from the Hospice was excellent. It’s  such an important part of our community.”

The Hospice has estimated it will lose more than £1m in income after cancelling fundraising events.

Corporate Fundraiser Kate Bowmar said: “We’d like to thank Pour Moi and its staff for their generous gesture. The response from the corporate world and the general public during Covid-19 has been amazing and shows once again just how much the community cares for the Hospice.”

* For more details visit pourmoi.co.uk/charity-edit