Volunteering Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

James Bunker – Christmas Tree Collection Volunteer

*Please note that the Christmas Tree Collection has now been postponed and some information in this article may be out of date. For more information click here.*

 

James Bunker was not even born when East Cheshire Hospice’s first Christmas tree collection took place in 2001.

But the teenager is now a key part of operations as the scheme celebrates its coming of age this weekend (Jan 9-10).

He was just 13 when he first volunteered for the collection with his dad Richard by joining the team on vans collecting trees for recycling.

James, who is 20 in March, is still out on the vans collecting trees each January, but is also increasingly involved in the planning and co-ordination process, assisting organisers Richard Raymond and Pete Chapman.

He was on the helpline before and after last year’s tree collection, spending the actual weekend on a round with his dad.

Richard and Pete began the pioneering collection which now collects around 7,500 trees and raises in excess of £100,000 for the Hospice each year.

James said: “Richard and Pete do an absolutely incredible job organising and co-ordinating the collection each year, spending more than three months on the event with all the planning.

“I’m still quite young, but I’m keen to do as much as I can to help them and pick up tips on how it works so that in future years I can help as much as is needed.

“The Hospice are keen to ensure the long-term sustainability of the collection to make sure it carries on for years to come as it’s such a vital part of their fundraising.”

James is a manager in Wilmslow for Mitchell’s and Butlers who operate pubs, bars and restaurants all over the UK. He also freelances as an event manager for large-scale public sporting events and  works on major Hospice fundraising events.

James Bunker and Richard Raymond, co-founder of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection scheme.

Route planning company 121 Systems optimises journeys for the 40-strong fleet of vans, a service it provides voluntarily to more than 50 charities.

Managing director Chris Sisson said: “There are a number of reasons we help East Cheshire Hospice. The collection brings the community together, donations go directly towards caring for patients facing challenges at end-of-life and trees are recycled so there are also environmental benefits.”

The company is one of many providing support, including main sponsors AstraZeneca. Organisers are asking tree customers to be patient about collections of their tree due to Covid restrictions.

* For any queries email echtrees@echospice.org.uk or call the Customer Care Helpline 01625 708939.

Review of the Year – 2020

Face shields, fundraising and a special farewell marked a year that East Cheshire Hospice will never forget.

End-of-life care became much harder because of Covid-19 which prevented the Hospice from holding a single mass-participation event in 2020.

Nurses showed amazing character and spirit – their brave efforts honoured during the emotional  Clap for Carers tributes each Thursday.

The community came together during lockdown, raising much-needed funds with all ages showing incredible acts of kindness and dedication.

Tytherington School pupil Finley Foote raised an incredible £5,515 running near his Bollington home, while another youngster George Bailey climbed 108,000 steps.

Many were inspired by fundraiser Carl Lamptey who received messages of support from musicians and sports stars.

Face shields flooded into the Hospice, along with other PPE equipment. Students and staff at Fallibroome Academy produced visors, while volunteer Shelagh Julian put her sewing skills to good use making masks.

Musician John Jones has spent more than 30 years cheering up patients playing his accordion. His performances have raised more than £300,000 for charity, including £89,000 for the Hospice.

John lost his wife June in March but was determined the show must go on in tribute to his biggest supporter.

The Hospice made two key appointments in 2020. Experienced BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson was appointed a Patron of the charity, which cared for his late father Robbie, while Edna Keefe became an Honorary Vice President.

The news came as she retired after 32 years’ service. Edna’s first job was to clean the Hospice before it even welcomed its first patient and she later worked in the laundry room.

The pandemic led to volunteers standing down temporarily, the Hospice hoping to welcome them all back in 2021.

 

Fallibroome Academy’s Catriona Beynon hard at work making visors.

 

Finley Foote and mum Sarah on one of their runs.

 

Edna Keefe (left) with former housekeeping colleague Christine Jenkins.

 

Nick Robinson who became a Hospice Patron in 2020.

 

Accordionist John Jones who has raised over £300,000 for charity.

 

Nurses taking part in the Clap for Carers.

Will Week 2020

A Macclesfield law specialist says the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 has led to an increase in demand for legal advice.

Estate planning consultant Tina Timmins says concerns among the public over planning for the future has created a surge in inquiries.

Tina is encouraging people to sign up for Will Week, run by East Cheshire Hospice from October 5-9, when solicitors waive fees in return for a donation to the charity.

Tina recently joined GPW Trusts – soon to open an office on Church Street – after 16 years with Blunts Solicitors which ceased trading in June when the long-established company went into administration.

GPW Trusts specialises in Will writing, trusts, long term care planning, inheritance tax planning, powers of attorney and probate.

Tina said: “My message is to make sure you have a Will and in this changing world there are ways of protecting your assets.

“It’s important people consider their estate planning and how they can plan to prevent their wealth being eroded by future threats.”

“We’ve had a lot of calls since the start of the pandemic and I’d encourage people to sign up for Will Week as soon as possible as appointments get booked very quickly.

“People want to support the Hospice and they come along because the charity is dear to their heart. This year more than any other has highlighted the need to have a Will.”

A full list of participating solicitors is available on the Hospice website eastcheshirehospice.org.uk.

Participating solicitors can write a single or mirror Will, or update an existing Will, in return for a donation to the Hospice. Any other services are chargeable at the solicitor’s usual cost.

GPW Trusts is expanding into Macclesfield, using Tina’s experience and in-depth knowledge of estate planning, which include Power of Attorney, Court of Protection and Probate.

Tina said: “I’m delighted to be at the start of an exciting new project and this is a new office for GPW Trusts which is well established in West Cheshire and North Wales.

“Will Week is usually three weeks for me by the time Wills are drafted and signed and I enjoy helping the Hospice.”

Pre lockdown, she was a frequent visitor to the charity’s Sunflower Centre giving informal legal advice to patients and families.

Tina is based at home and online until the new Macclesfield office is ready. Visit www.gpwtrusts.co.uk.

ECHO – Opening September 5th

East Cheshire Hospice opens the doors to its new charity shop ECHO in Poynton on Saturday, September 5.

Poynton was chosen as the location because the Hospice is keen to build a greater presence in the village to reflect the number of patients, volunteers and supporters who live there.

The opening has been delayed by four months because of Covid-19 and the Hospice has already been encouraged by the public response, even before the first item is sold.

The Park Lane shop will sell ladies, men’s and children’s clothes, shoes, handbags, toys, bric-a-brac and furniture.  Opening hours are Monday to Saturday (9 am – 5 pm).

Shop manager Emma Lloyd said: “This will be a charity shop like no other, selling good quality clothing and furniture at affordable prices.

“Value for money is even more important at the moment with the retail sector facing such a difficult time because of Covid-19.

“We wanted a presence in Poynton and believe the timing is right to open and in an ideal location in the centre of the village.

“We’re confident we’ll attract lots of customers whose support will benefit our patients.  All profits go directly to fund patient care.

“Poynton is in our catchment area, although some people mistakenly believe it’s served by our friends from St Ann’s Hospice.”

ECHO shop manager Emma Lloyd (left) and volunteer Dee Waters.

The shop is the charity’s fourth, with others at Thornton Square and Chestergate, Macclesfield, and Handforth.

ECHO, which prides itself on its eco-friendly approach, will be plastic-free. Hangers will be wooden and reclaimed timber boards have been used as part of this recycling project.

Emma said: “Our customers will be saving money and saving the environment by buying our second-hand goods, some of which are designer items.

“The feedback from the public as we’ve been preparing the shop and receiving donated items has been extremely positive. We want to thank our donors.”

Staff and volunteers have been recruited and the Hospice is asking for any unwanted items to be delivered to the back of the premises where parking is available. Items will be quarantined for 72 hours.

Furniture collections can be arranged by calling furniture co-ordinator and assistant manager Michele Slack on 01625 409647 or visit the Hospice website eastcheshirehospice.org.uk.

Income from its charity shops provides a vital source of regular income for the Hospice, especially as fundraising revenue has dropped significantly because of the pandemic.

Face Coverings

Talented seamstress Shelagh Julian has made a variety of items since she started sewing more than 80 years ago.

Her highlight was making the dress she wore when she married her late husband John 69 years ago.

Now she has added a new product to her hobby by creating face masks for East Cheshire Hospice.

Shelagh is part of a 35-strong team of volunteers making masks which are in big demand and raising vital funds.

Shelagh Julian with her customised East Cheshire Hospice face masks.

Shelagh (89) has already made more than 200 masks which are sold in exchange for a suggested £3 donation to the Hospice.

She has helped the Hospice since moving from Plymouth to Macclesfield 13 years ago.

Shelagh, who has four great grandchildren and was a registered nurse, said: “Sewing gives me a great deal of pleasure and I’m lucky to be healthy enough to do it.

“I probably spend three hours a day on average sewing and enjoy watching things materialise. It’s a lovely feeling when you can make something that’s wanted and raises funds for the Hospice.

“Friends and neighbours have been extremely generous donating materials and the masks have been even more popular now they must be worn in shops.”

* Masks are available at the Hospice reception; The Poachers Inn; The Tytherington Club; Kelley’s Dry Cleaners, Broken Cross; Macclesfield Golf Club; St Alban’s Church; New Life Church, Congleton and St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield.

More outlets have said they will sell masks once the Hospice has further stock.

Shop Volunteers Begin to Return

Volunteers are relieved to back in familiar surroundings helping at East Cheshire Hospice charity shops.

Retired hospital sister Margaret Turner has returned to the Chestergate shop which is distributing donated items.

Margaret, a volunteer for 16 years including a decade at the Chestergate shop, said: “I’ve missed the company and when I met our customers in the town centre they asked when we were opening up again.

“The first month of lockdown was okay and I managed to get a lot of things done but then it became frustrating, especially as my social life had stopped.

“I couldn’t go to see the Halle Orchestra, the theatre, or Macclesfield Ladies Probus club where I’m a member. I also go to a luncheon club in Wilmslow and all those activities ended.”

Margaret Turner, an East Cheshire Hospice volunteer for 16 years.

Valerie Roscoe, also from Macclesfield, is a volunteer at the Thornton Square shop where she helps out twice a week.

Valerie said: “It’s been terrible during lockdown to be honest and I struggled to get up in a morning.  It’s good to back and I missed chatting to all the customers who’re all very friendly.”

Part of her time during lockdown was spent providing home schooling for 12-year-old grandson Bobby.

Valerie Roscoe, volunteer at the Hospice shop at Thornton Square.

Staff involved in the retail operation on which the Hospice relies heavily for its income are also glad to be back serving customers again.

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

Virus Volunteers

EDIT – 22.04.2020: Following more recent Government guidelines, all of our volunteers have now been stood down and have been asked not to come into the Hospice until further notice. Unfortunately, our counselling volunteers are also unable to make calls from outside the hospice due to GDPR.

 

Volunteers and staff are rallying round to keep East Cheshire Hospice going despite the coronavirus crisis.

The vast majority of the our volunteers have been stood down because they are aged over 70 or self isolating.

Those remaining –  fewer than a fifth of the 650-strong volunteer workforce – are helping on the inpatient wards and front desk reception.

Volunteer bereavement counsellors are carrying out appointments over the telephone.

Other roles, such as complementary therapists and drivers who take outpatients to the Sunflower Centre which is closed, are not allowed to be filled at present.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Helena Smith said: “I want to stress that these volunteers have stood down reluctantly, not because they want to. People know their role matters and that they make a difference.

“I’ve had phone calls from people fed up that they can’t help out. For those over 70 it was a cut and dried decision but those under 70 didn’t find it easy to step away.

“But people need to put themselves first.  Volunteers don’t often do this and put the organisation and the patients before themselves.

“They feel a real sense of responsibility, so it’s really hard for them. But just because they’re not volunteering here they’re still supporting people in the community.

“It might not be in a formal way on reception with a badge, but it doesn’t mean to say they’re not supporting the community. So many people are carrying out caring roles that make a difference.

“We’d really struggle without the volunteers who’re still here and need them now more than ever. I’d also like to say a big thank you to them.”

One such volunteer Laurence Duerden helps on reception and in normal circumstances would support pop-up shops and serve food.  His wife Angela died in the Hospice from cancer, age 43, in 2011.

Laurence Duerden helping on reception at East Cheshire Hospice.01

Laurence (58), who is retired from Astra Zeneca, said: “I’ll happily fill any gaps on volunteer rotas. It’s important we keep the professionals free to carry on what they’re trained to do.

“My son Jack (18) and daughter Emma  (16) both left Tytherington School the day schools were forced to shut down. Their last day at school was a really emotional time and they had to say quick goodbyes to their school friends.”

Katie Porter Talks Christmas Tree Collection

Kate Porter who is part of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection team.

 

Kate Porter is following in the footsteps of her late father by visiting homes to support East Cheshire Hospice.

The Macclesfield mum-of-two is a van driver for the charity’s Christmas Tree Collection service which swings into action again this weekend (Jan 11/12).

Her dad Oliver Hanson (71) was also a Hospice volunteer and collected lottery money for the charity right up until his death in 2006.

On his weekly rounds he would be offered tea and cakes by customers who enjoyed a chat as much as he did.

Kate said: “The Hospice and his lottery round were dear to his heart and I felt like I needed to carry on his legacy.”

“It was only when I saw how many of his lottery customers were at his funeral that I realised just how much the role meant to him.”

“He was out in all weathers knocking on doors collecting the £1 lottery subs and was well known at the Hospice, though he never made a song and dance about it.”

For the last 14 years, Kate has helped with the tree collection, starting as a crew member before becoming the first female van driver a few years ago.

Kate works as a PA for HealthCare 21 Communications and toy and game inventors Carterbench, both based in Macclesfield.

Her partner Chris Nixon has helped with the tree collection for the last eight years after son Sam and daughter Bex assisted early on.

“When you do it once you get hooked. It’s such a positive day and the organisers and everyone else is so welcoming and make you feel part of it.”

“I’m proud of my female van driving role and I usually do the pick-ups which are furthest from Macclesfield.  I like driving and there’s probably as many women who help out in various roles as men.”

“The collection keeps getting bigger, so every year we need more help. There’s a great team spirit even when it’s pouring with rain.”

* The collection covers Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Bollington, Prestbury, Poynton, Congleton and Knutsford.  Post codes CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16.

News Round up – Christmas Tree Eco-friendly Collection, Nepal Trek Success & Santa Dash

East Cheshire Hospice is having an even greener Christmas with its tree collection at the heart of its eco-friendly plans.

All trees collected on Saturday, January 11, and Sunday, January, 12, will be recycled  by Ansa Environmental Services, a subsidiary of Cheshire East Council, at its West Park site.

The donations received from owners for removing their trees funds the care of Hospice patients, their families and carers.

The recycled trees are turned into mulch which is either turned into compost for parks and gardens or used in biomass boilers.

The green push has continued this year with the introduction of flyers printed on recycled paper which can then be re-used. Cardboard leaflet holders have also replaced plastic versions.

Visit  www.echtrees.org.uk, or call the customer care hotline 01625 708939, to register a tree for collection.

The scheme run by volunteers has raised more than £1m for the Hospice since it began 20 years ago.

The collection covers  Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Bollington, Prestbury, Poynton, Congleton and Knutsford. The post codes are CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16.

An environmental study showed that an artificial tree would need to be kept for more than 20 years before it would be more carbon efficient than a real one.

FIVE intrepid trekkers raised more than £18,000 for the Hospice from a trip to Nepal last month.

Staff members Sarah Dale and Louise Delany were joined by medical writer Jonathan Edwards,  Helen Connolly and Sherry Daniels.

The group helped paint a hospice in Kathmandu before an arduous five-day walk which boasted stunning views of the Annapurna mountain range.

Louise said: “It was tiring and hard work, especially as we had to climb 3,500 metres, but it was a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

 

“The people we met were lovely and on behalf of us all I’d like to everyone for their wonderful generosity donating much-needed funds for the Hospice.”

 

The next adventure is a trip to the Great Wall of China (March 19-27) in 2021.

   

ALMOST 7,000 schoolchildren and teachers took part in the Santa Dash, one of East Cheshire Hospice’s biggest community events of the year.

Pupils undertook a sponsored walk or run either in their school hall or playground, marking the 11th year of the festive event.

The Reindeer Rush is back next year, with Elf Runs and Snowman Sprints in subsequent years.