Volunteering Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Award Nominated Dementia Community Companions

Some of our volunteers have been short-listed for a prestigious charity award.

The 12-strong team of Dementia Community Companions could become the Volunteer Team of the Year at the 2019 North West Charity Awards.

Each member of the group spends at least two hours a week as a companion to someone with the early stages of dementia.

Their work has earned the admiration of everyone connected with the Hospice and now their selfless dedication has been recognised through a nomination for this award.

We will find out whether they have won at a special ceremony in Manchester on Friday, September 27.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Helena Smith is extremely proud of the project and those who have made it such a success.

Helena said: “It’s a wonderful service, set up as part of our carers’ well-being programme,  and I’m delighted that our committed volunteers have received this deserved recognition.

“It may not be a medical or clinical role, but in its own way is just as important.

“The volunteers’ role is to give the person living with dementia an opportunity to do normal activities in a safe environment.

“Our team enjoy the company of others and are caring and compassionate. As well as resilience, they have a good sense of humour and not all of them have previous experience of working with people with dementia.

“Our volunteers are from all walks of life and I’m proud to say that some manage to work with people with dementia while working full time.”

Helena would like to add to the team if more volunteers feel they can help.

She added: “The role is one of friendship. The volunteer doesn’t provide personal care but concentrates on making a real difference to the life of their companion.

“Knowing that their loved one is in the care of someone who is well-trained and supported, and who wants to be with them, helps the carer to concentrate on their needs and to get back to being themselves again for two or three hours a week.

“The responsibility for care often falls on the husband, wife or children and this led us to our goal of making a real impact on the education and support of the carers, allowing them to look after themselves so  the person with dementia can ‘live well with dementia.’”

* Contact Helena on 01625 664984 or email hsmith@echospice.org.uk or complete the online application form

Richard Raymond is Nightrider

Teamwork is usually the key to Richard Raymond’s fundraising for East Cheshire Hospice.

As co-founder of the charity’s Christmas Tree Collection, he plays a pivotal role in a large-scale operation which has so far raised more than £1m.

But his latest fundraising challenge was very much a single-handed effort as he undertook a 50 kilometre night ride through Merseyside.

Richard, from Macclesfield, raised more than £400 from Nightrider 2019 which began at Pier Head and took him through the Mersey Tunnel which was closed to traffic for the event.

Richard said: “I come from Chester originally and had wanted to follow a cycle trail around the Wirral so as an occasional social cyclist couldn’t resist the opportunity.

“My wave of cyclists set off at 11.10 pm when the city centre streets were packed with people partying. When I returned at around 2.30 pm they were still out there enjoying themselves!

“I noticed the Hospice had got spare places in the event and this was my chance to do a bit of personal fundraising for this fantastic local charity.”

Believe it or not but even during the height of summer, collecting Christmas trees is never far from the thoughts of Richard and the scheme’s co-founder Pete Chapman.

The 2019 collection raised £136,000 net which meant it broke the £1m mark overall for fundraising for the Hospice.

The next collection on the weekend of January 11 and 12 will bring another special milestone.

Richard said: “It’s our 20th anniversary in 2020 so we’re already thinking about marketing and promotion around that theme. We’re also looking at routing so there’s a lot to consider even now.

“It’s a major challenge but one we enjoy immensely, especially as we have such a dedicated team of volunteers and generous donors. Once again we’ll be relying on the spirit and enthusiasm of our supporters next year.”

Furniture is a big deal!

East Cheshire Hospice is looking for volunteers to collect furniture for sale at two of its shops.

The charity wants volunteers willing to drive on Fridays (9 am-4.30 pm) and Saturday mornings and therefore play an integral role within its commercial team.

The Hospice is also asking the public to donate furniture which provides a vital source of revenue to help fund the cost of patient care.

Commercial Manager Louise Delany said: “If enough volunteers come forward, we can draw up a rota therefore it might be someone only helps out once a month. Any time they can spare will be much appreciated.”

“It’s a two-person operation and full training will be given, so we need volunteers who are fit and healthy and able to lift furniture.

“They’ll collect goods from a donor’s property and deliver to our warehouse in Pott Shrigley or our shops at Thornton Square and Handforth where we have furniture for sale and on display.”

The Hospice accepts any good quality furniture that can be sold on, so providing it is not ripped or stained they will accept most items including retro, antique furniture, or items that can be restored.

It will collect sofas, table and chairs, bedroom furniture, side boards and any other miscellaneous items.  It also collects good quality electrical items.

Louise added: “I don’t think many people are aware we collect furniture and other national charities benefit from receiving furniture due to heavy advertisement.  We need to make the public aware we are also in the market for furniture and can arrange free collections.

“Our furniture range is hugely popular with our customers. Therefore, as soon as it arrives in our shops it’s sold within days.

“Our donors are extremely generous, providing us with good quality furniture to sell on to our loyal customers.

“We’re desperate for furniture and volunteers to help us collect the items.”

* To find out more email Louise Delany on ldelany@echospice.org.uk.

To donate furniture, call 01625 408992 (Thornton Square shop); 01625 404104 (Handforth shop).

Could you be a Reception Volunteer?

Warm and friendly personalities are wanted to be the welcoming face of East Cheshire Hospice.

Volunteer receptionists are in demand to help out front-of-house at the Millward Drive facility on an ongoing basis.

Shifts on the reception are four hours during the week and two hours at weekends and evenings and although the Hospice has a team of around 80 people willing to help, they would welcome more helping hands.

Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Helena Smith, says the role is not an onerous one but it is important.

“Our receptionists are the first people that our patients and their families see, often at difficult times so they need to be welcoming and approachable with a willingness to help” says Helena. “We already have a marvellous team but we can always do with some more support.”

“Occasionally we need some help at the last minute but usually shifts are allocated well in advance for our volunteers,” says Helena.

The role entails answering phones and helping out at the small Hospice shop and volunteers should be computer literate.

Anyone who thinks they can help can contact Helena on 01625 664984.

Be part of our 500 Club!

East Cheshire Hospice have paid tribute to local businesses who collectively have raised £35,000 over the past year.

The businesses are all members of The 500 Club – a network of companies who have pledged to raise at least £500 per annum for three years.

They include Leek United Building Society whose branch manager, Veronica McNeil, says Club membership provides a win-win opportunity for both the Hospice and her colleagues.

“Staff and customers engage by getting involved in helping a local charity and of course every penny raised helps the Hospice with their great work,” she says.

“This year we raised more than £2000 by taking part in the Hospice events give a donation for every special East Cheshire Hospice that is opened.”

Another Club member, Blunts Solicitors from King Edward Street, raised most of their £4200 total by taking part in Will Week when legal advice is given for free in exchange for a donation to the Hospice.

Paralegal, Tina Phipps, says their company support continues throughout the year.

“I do legal clinics at the Sunflower Centre and the collecting box in our office is topped up when we ask clients for donations instead of charging for minor legal tasks,” she says.

Corporate Fundraiser at the Hospice, Kate Bowmar, says the Club now has 37 members who all benefit from regular networking events.

“Our 500 Club members are part of an engaged and socially responsible group of businesses who bring real benefit to our work,” says Kate.

Gathering for ‘Gathering’

After months of enjoying the camaraderie of teamwork, international artist Susie MacMurray is now embarking on the last stages of her newest art creation.

After six months of painstaking sewing supported by 10 volunteers, Susie’s art installation, Gathering, is now in its final stages and will be set to move to Tatton Park in just over 10 days’ time.

Inspired by East Cheshire Hospice, the installation features 3,750 elements of red velvet and barbed wire which Susie is now threading onto the wires that will suspend the installation from the Mansion’s grand rotunda. It will be on display from June 27 to October 6 as part of Art Fair Cheshire 2019.

Susie said: “This final stage is an intricate process and is a solo effort.

“I’ve got a very clear vision of what I want it to look like and pulling it together is like handwriting – my individual interpretation.

“But it’s still a very collaborative piece and it’s been a very meaningful experience to work with the volunteer helpers who’ve all brought their own individual traits to the artwork.”

Susie’s helpers were all volunteers from the Hospice and the group spent many hours at her studio sharing memories of lost loved ones.

Susie, whose husband John died 12 years ago, said the work reflected the whole idea of the piece which is a gathering of people to support each other and share memories.

“We have had so many meaningful, intimate, hilarious and sad conversations whilst working on this piece,” she says.

“The Hospice is such a catalyst for extraordinary acts of kindness, generosity and care and the people who worked with me over the last six months illustrated that.”

The volunteers haven’t yet said goodbye to the artwork. They will once again spring into action to help Susie gently move the installation to Tatton Park where it will take up to a week to secure into place.

Using scaffolding to hang from the Mansion’s rotunda, it will eventually drop down two floors through the staircase atrium .

Afterwards, individual elements will be sold for a £30 donation to the hospice, with small wall pieces also on sale.

Susie has also painted a water colour of Gathering. A limited edition of 75 signed and numbered prints costs £225 each. All proceeds to the Hospice.

For more information visit www.gatheringattatton.co.uk.  The project is supported by Arts Council England and The Arts Society.

From Volunteering to Finance

Browsing through emails whilst on honeymoon created a full-time “dream job” for one Macclesfield lady.

Michele Slack, 51, checked in on her emails whilst in Mauritius in February only to see a job which she knew she would love.

The role of a Finance Officer at East Cheshire Hospice was practically a dream come true for the Lyme Green resident who had plenty of experience working within the Millbank Drive environment.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for a job but I’ve been a volunteer at the Hospice for the last 18 months and absolutely love the place so when I saw the job advertisement I knew that I couldn’t ignore it” says Michele.

“My mother, Marlene Jackson, spent her final last ten days at the Hospice back in March 2016 following a long illness and I saw at first hand the incredible work they do,” she adds. “The nurses couldn’t do enough for both my mum and my family and I knew I wanted to give something back.”

So Michele became one of the 600-strong band of volunteers who every day take on a range of different roles to support the work of the Hospice.

Michele helped on reception and felt quickly that she was part of the Hospice team and loved that she could fit it around her working life.

“You might think that this is a place of sadness and indeed people endure distressing times but it’s also a place which is full of hope and courage,” says Michele.

It’s not unusual for part-time volunteers to take on full-time roles within the Hospice team. Volunteer Co-ordinator, Helena Smith, says the Hospice seems to get under your skin.

“Another of our volunteer receptionists, Jane Hart, now works as a Clinical Co-ordinator three days a week here at the Hospice. It’s such an accolade for the Hospice that our volunteers get so much out of their volunteering that they want to spend even more time with us.”

Helena can offer a wide variety of roles to volunteers including running the reception, one-off helping at events and regular stints in one of the Hospice charity shops, all of which can be fitted around busy lives.

“Volunteers are always needed at the Hospice and they can give as much time or as little time as they like,” says Helena.

To find out more about volunteering contact Helena on 01625 664984.

Remap Consulting doing their bit!

Collection tins for East Cheshire Hospice have been given a new look by volunteers.

Staff from Remap Consulting, based at Alderley Park, spent a day re-wrapping around 450 boxes featuring the Hospice logo which changed in 2016.

Collection tins raise around £25,000 a year for the charity and are a vital source of revenue.

The tins are in shops, pubs, bars and other outlets and anyone who wants them is asked to contact the hospice on 01625 433477 or email fundraising@echospice.org.uk.

Remap are a member of the Hospice’s 500 Club, a corporate giving scheme in which local businesses are asked to raise or donate £500 a year for three years.

Kate Bowmar, the Hospice’s Corporate Fundraiser, said: “We currently have 37 members who form a network of forward-thinking, community-engaged and socially responsible businesses.

“The boxes display a number for people to call when full. All sites now have a volunteer collector and once full we’ll arrange for it to be collected. We’d like to place more boxes if possible and it’s a great way to help the Hospice.”

Remap is a specialist pharmaceutical pricing and market access consultancy company.

Sarah Bailey of Remap said: “I was proud to support the Hospice by giving up a day to wrap collection tins, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment. Even the little things can make a huge difference.

“We’ve organised several fundraising initiatives including bake sales and an Easter egg competition, and would urge other companies to help the Hospice.”

Guy Rigby’s Award

An East Cheshire Hospice charity shop volunteer, who “lights up the room with his personality” has been given a special award.

Guy Rigby, who has cerebral palsy, has been presented by the Macclesfield-based charity with a Customer Champion Certificate to mark his great commitment and enthusiasm.

His working journey began 18 months ago when Guy, who lives in supported living accommodation, told his carer Sue Selby that he’d like to do something purposeful. Within weeks, Guy was welcomed on a part-time volunteer basis into the Hospice charity shop fellow volunteer Anthea Lee.

Sue says: “Guy began with some pretty basic jobs like stacking and tidying the CDs but soon he developed a great rapport with the customers and now he works mostly on the main till engaging with everyone who comes in.”

“Guy sometimes needs to take it slower than other people, but he’s always been able to light up a room with his personality and the customers in the shop have really taken to him”.

Hospice Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Helena Smith, says Guy is a real asset to the shop.

“He has grown massively in confidence and ability and is so good with people in the shop – both customers and other volunteers,” says Helena.

“Within the Hospice, we constantly work to adjust and adapt to peoples needs and its good that we can also take this into the community. Our charity shops act as little community hubs and Guy’s contribution is a part of that.”

The Hospice has three charity shops – in Thornton Square, Handforth and Wilmslow – which all run mainly with the help of volunteers. Full training is given and anyone who would like to commit some time as a shop volunteer can contact Helena on 01625 664984.