What the Give a Gift Appeal achieved for St Catherine’s in its 30th year

Staff and volunteers are celebrating the massive success of the St Catherine's Hospice 30th anniversary Give A Gift campaign

Staff and volunteers are celebrating the massive success of the St Catherine's Hospice 30th anniversary Give A Gift campaign

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At the start of last year, the Lancashire Evening Post and Chorley and Leyland Guardian teamed up with St Catherine’s to launch the Give A Gift appeal, set up to celebrate the much-loved charity’s 30th anniversary.

As the new year begins, KAY TAYLOR catches up with hospice to find out more about the success of the milestone year and anniversary campaign.

Charity patron Mark Lawrenson helped back the hospice's lottery scheme

Charity patron Mark Lawrenson helped back the hospice's lottery scheme

After a massive effort to raise the profile of St Catherine’s Hospice in the charity’s 30th anniversary year, the team is delighted that so many of their pledges were achieved throughout 2015.

As a result of the ground-breaking Give A Gift appeal, the Lostock Hall hospice has managed to tick off the majority of the ‘gifts’ it wanted the community’s help in reaching over the last 12 months.

Hundreds of new volunteer positions have been filled, people made special pledges in their wills, and after a final push for support in December, the hospice managed to attract 30 new businesses to choose St Catherine’s as their ‘charity of the year’ for 2016.

What’s more, 300 new lottery members are on board, 30 schools have become involved in supporting the hospice’s work, and funds have been raised for specialist medical equipment too.

“The idea behind the Give A Gift campaign was to highlight lots of different ways that people could get involved, in the hope that there was something on the list which appealed to everyone.”

Lorraine Charlesworth, director of income generation at St Catherine’s Hospice

“I don’t think there are many people in Lancashire who don’t know it was our 30th anniversary in 2015,” says Lorraine Charlesworth, director of income generation.

“We have worked really hard to get the message out there in the community, and have been so grateful for the support we’ve received from the Chorley and Leyland Guardian and the Lancashire Evening Post in helping us to do that.

“St Catherine’s is a local charity which was inspired by local people more than 30 years ago and is only here today, three decades later, because of the incredible on-going support we receive.

“It was important to us to mark that amazing achievement with our supporters and involve them as much as possible in our celebrations - which have, of course, at the same time raised vital funds to help us continue our important work in 2016 and beyond.”

Lorraine Charlesworth, director of income generation at St Catherine's Hospice

Lorraine Charlesworth, director of income generation at St Catherine's Hospice

A big part of the anniversary celebration was the launch of the Give A Gift appeal - a list of 30 different things the charity hoped to achieve in 2015 with the help of its supporters.

The gift list contained a variety of things, covering everything from becoming a friend on Facebook to taking part in one of the hospice’s events.

Lorraine explains: “The idea behind the Give A Gift campaign was to highlight lots of different ways that people could get involved, in the hope that there was something on the list which appealed to everyone.

“St Catherine’s depends on fund-raising and donations to be able to continue our work, but the hospice relies on more than just money - people can support us by giving their valuable time as a volunteer, or by helping to spread the word about the value of hospice care on social media.

“By launching an appeal which encompassed all of these different and important elements, rather than simply working towards a monetary total, the campaign has helped promote the variety of work that goes into St Catherine’s throughout our 30th year.”

It is clear from the list that the community responded with excitement and enthusiasm, resulting in St Catherine’s being able to tick off nearly all of the items.

Lorraine adds: “It has been wonderful hearing the stories of people who have got involved and why they have been inspired to do so - from the gentleman who counted up the spare change he had collected over the years and pledged it to the appeal, to the talented baker who created our beautiful 30th birthday cake.

“The nursing and medical equipment gifts were particularly popular and we managed to achieve our target several times over in some cases which is brilliant.

“Items like a specialist bed and mattress or nebuliser - used to help those with respiratory conditions - make a real, tangible difference to the lives of people facing conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure.”

A few gifts remain outstanding, including the most ambitious target of redecorating corridors and communal areas on the 19-bed in-patient unit.

“We may now have started 2016, but we would still be very interested in hearing from any local businesses who might be able to help us out with this work by providing their services ‘in kind’ as a belated birthday gift,” Lorraine urges.

“We’re looking for painters, decorators, and carpet fitters and retailers to help give this important patient area a spruce up, ensuring it is as welcoming and attractive to patients and their visitors as possible.

“We have made good progress in raising funds towards a refurbishment of our in-patient unit conservatory thanks to the generosity of one of our late patients’ family and friends, but assistance from glazing or furniture companies who could offer their services or discounted rates would also be so appreciated.”

Despite such a successful year, St Catherine’s is realistic about the challenges that lie ahead, not least the annual task of raising £3.7m of the hospice’s £5m yearly running costs.

Lorraine says: “At St Catherine’s we will never become complacent and will always value the contribution of each and every one of our supporters.

“After such an amazing 12 months, what we must do now is carry that momentum forward into 2016.

“We hope all that has been achieved in 2015 will inspire people to support St Catherine’s in the coming weeks and months ahead when once again we have an action-packed calendar.

“So whether you want to take part in a sponsored walk, run or cycle, dance the night away at our Summer Ball or Bollywood Night, or watch Will Young on stage at Symphony at the Tower, we hope we’ve got something to interest you.

“Your contribution will help us to continue making a difference to local people when it really matters most today, and for another 30 years.”

- To see a list of all the St Catherine’s Hospice events planned for 2016, visit www.lep.co.uk.

St Catherine’s Hospice Give A Gift appeal list

- 3,000 new friends on Facebook and Twitter COMPLETE!

- 30 adrenalin junkies to do a sponsored skydive COMPLETE!

- 30 new volunteers at the charity shops; 30 at the hospice; and 30 at events or for special projects COMPLETE!

- 3 nature enthusiasts to monitor and record wildlife in St Catherine’s Park, plus further volunteers to help manage and maintain the area COMPLETE!

- 30 businesses choosing St Catherine’s Hospice as their ‘Charity of the Year’ COMPLETE!

- 30 schools directly involved in supporting the hospice’s work COMPLETE!

- 30 events for the hospice to provide the catering for COMPLETE!

- 30 new pledges in wills COMPLETE!

- 30 new students enrolled on the End of Life Care Diploma with Preston’s College - 20 students completed the training in 2015, with more due to study the programme in 2016

- 300 new lottery members (£1 a week) COMPLETE!

- 300 new regular givers (£3 a month) - could you sign up to give a donation to St Catherine’s each month?

- 3,000 Air Guitar Challenge Heroes; the challenge reached 75,000 people on social media and raised more than £400

- 3,000 visitors dropping off goods at the on-site donation centre for re-sale in the shops COMPLETE!

- 300 Dashing Santas - 150 Santas took part in the event at the Christmas Festival, while around 1,200 pupils took part in their Santa-themed events at school in December

- 300 sales of the 30th anniversary cook book, on sale at the hospice gift shop in Lostock Hall

- 300 sales of 30th anniversary merchandise COMPLETE!

- 1,000 walkers in the Moonlight and Memories Walk - more than 900 walkers took part and raised £84,000

- 300 donations of £30 - visit www.stcatherines.co.uk/donate

- A very special St Catherine’s 30th birthday cake COMPLETE!

- Two nebulisers for the in-patient unit COMPLETE!

- 10 lock boxes to give protection to syringe drivers COMPLETE!

- Hard flooring for two patient rooms COMPLETE!

- 30 patients receiving complementary therapies at home (£2,000) - contact the hospice if you’re interested in helping with this worthwhile project

- An alaris pump for the on-patient unit COMPLETE!

- 3 new specialised beds and pressure relieving mattresses for patients (£2,650 each for a mattress, £2,147 per frame) - two beds and mattresses bought; could you fund-raise to help buy the third?

- A ‘moisture meter’ for the Woodside Lymphoedema Clinic COMPLETE!

- Refurbish patients’ conservatory (£15,000) - could you help out with services in kind?

- A new footbridge for St Catherine’s Park - Preston North and South Rotary Clubs fund-raised and helped carry out the work COMPLETE!

- 2 sponsors for the spring and autumn newsletters - Booths and KTG Social Care signed up COMPLETE!

- Finally, the hospice needs to refurbish the corridors next to patients’ rooms - contact the team to discuss if you can help in any way; email giveagift@stcatherines.co.uk or call 01772 695290.