Burnley : News

Why Pendleside Hospice is a force to be reckoned with

We all know Pendleside Hospice does incredible work, enhancing the quality of life for those with life-limiting illnesses, as well as their families and carers. But you may not realise just how big a force the hospice is.

Burnley.co.uk recently had the privilege of visiting Pendleside Hospice, where we met chief executive Helen McVey and head of corporate Christina Cope. They told us that while, of course, the pandemic has curbed fundraising for the charity, the financial situation isn’t as devastating as first estimated. Last year, the hospice told us they were concerned there would be a £1 million shortfall in fundraising due to their inability to hold their usual events.

And while, of course, fundraising has been scaled back, the generosity of people and businesses in Burnley and the surrounding areas has meant their vital work can continue.

“Other hospices are always amazed at how much money our generous businesses and communities raise for us. It really is testament to the local area. For example, our Light Up A Life campaign is where people can remember loved ones by dedicating a light to them at the hospice. Around 220 hospices take part in this campaign across England and we are fourth in the country for how much money we raise.

“We’re also the top hospice in the country for our corporate challenge. Pre COVID, this was where businesses had four months to turn £50 into as much as possible. In 2019 pre COVID, overall businesses managed to turn it into £147,000. These corporate challenges not only raise money, but teams report how it supports morale, team working and health and wellbeing among our business supporters,” Helen explained.

Here are five other facts you may not know about Pendleside Hospice.

1) Burnley was never supposed to have a hospice

The hospice was established over 30 years ago after the people of Burnley were told they had to use the hospice provision in Blackburn for their needs. However, the community fought hard to set one up and as a result of campaigning and fundraising, Pendleside Hospice was born. As such, “It is built by the community for the community”, Christina told us.

2) The hospice has a family centre

We may think of the hospice as primarily helping those who are poorly, but it has a family centre which offers pre and post bereavement counselling for anyone, not just those who have had loved ones in the hospice. These services are available to support Burnley Business’s, staff employed by the business being able to access these bereavement services.

An important part of this service is counselling for children and Christina explained that they’ve found using Zoom during the pandemic has actually improved engagement with young people as they feel more relaxed, so this will continue, alongside face-to-face counselling.

3) It’s a big operation

Pendleside Hospice is proud to have 150 employees and around 600 volunteers, without whom it just couldn’t operate. It also uses local contractors where possible. Its ten hospice shops raise £650,000 a year. Did you know that you can also donate via your salary? Under payroll giving, employees who choose to give to the hospice can enjoy tax relief, as can their employer.

4) You can build a career here

People may not think of the charity sector as one in which to work, but Helen is keen to highlight the work-life balance that you can enjoy when often compared to a big corporate. And of course, there is the job satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference, as well as each day being varied.

Helen started her career as a nurse, before achieving a nursing degree in cancer and palliative care and a masters in hospice leadership. She was also a manager of a care home before joining the hospice in 2004 as clinical services manager. She then worked her way up to chief executive in 2015.

5) It’s opened its doors to COVID patients

Where nationally some hospices reduced their service provision due to COVID (and, of course, each hospice has their own resources to manage), Pendleside Hospice opened its doors to COVID patients and transformed some of its rooms into additional bedrooms.

“We didn’t feel it right for us to turn people away and accommodated as many as we could do safely. We felt this was especially important when our NHS was overwhelmed with numbers and we wanted to help as much as possible”, Christina told us.

The hospice is launching its MEGA Raisathon on 26th May at Towneley Park. Businesses can sign up to attend, where they will pledge their support for the June business challenge (due to the pandemic the usual four-month challenge will now be a month). There will also be a “NetWalking” event, to encourage people who have felt isolated working at home to connect with others whilst walking around the grounds. For more information, please contact Christina on Christina.Cope@pendleside.org.uk or tel: 01282 440103

If you would like to find out more about the services that Pendleside Hospice provides, including Meals on Wheels, head over to www.pendleside.org.uk