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New hospice communications officer Kay Taylor is starting to understand the level of care provided at St Catherine’s: A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a patient in the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice which I think will stay with me for a very long time. It was a glorious day, and […]

DSC_2038New hospice communications officer Kay Taylor is starting to understand the level of care provided at St Catherine’s:

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a patient in the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice which I think will stay with me for a very long time.

It was a glorious day, and the daffodils were in full bloom. It certainly put a smile on my face to see the sun shining over the beautiful gardens of St Catherine’s Park, and walk along the pathways without needing a coat.

But as much as I enjoyed it, it would be difficult for me to really appreciate it as much as John* did.

John was being shown around the gardens by a one of our physiotherapists in his wheelchair, and his whole face – from his eyes to his smile – was beaming.

It turns out that John had been so poorly these past few months, he hadn’t been outside since September. And he was so incredibly grateful at finally feeling the warmth of the sunshine on his skin again.

He was thrilled, and it was wonderful to witness, although of course it made me feel slightly sad as well.

That’s something I’m going to have to get used to working in a hospice environment, following in the footsteps of all of the fantastic staff and volunteers who make things like this happen on a regular basis.

I’m quickly learning that there is so much more to palliative and end-of-life hospice care than I first realised. There’s the medical side of things, with trained professionals helping patients to manage symptoms of life-shortening illnesses and making them more comfortable.

20160413_082943But one message which is coming through loud and clear is that the hospice staff and volunteers really do care for people – and it’s covering all the little details, like something as simple as a stroll in the fresh air, which really matter.

We recently covered a story in the communications team about St Catherine’s hosting its first graduation ceremony, when Max Neill, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer, was presented with his Master of Arts from Manchester University at the hospice. He wore a cap and gown and was celebrated for his achievements in a personalised graduation ceremony.

Similarly, Jane and Steve Cottom held an intimate wedding at St Catherine’s Hospice last month, after Steve was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Jane spoke about how staff went the extra mile to make it a moving ceremony and celebration personal to the couple.

Sadly, Max and Steve have both now died, but hopefully the specialised care they received – as well as the happy milestones they celebrated here – helped create some meaningful memories for their loved ones, who can be comforted by the fact that they were cared for in the best possible way when it really mattered the most.

St Catherine’s is a very poignant place for a lot of people, and it becomes a place of remembrance and reflection too. That’s part of what makes it such a well-loved local charity, and I feel so humbled and proud to be part of that.

*Patient’s name changed.

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Rachel Hewitt, head of trading at St Catherine’s Hospice, shares her top tips for finding hidden treasures and bagging bargains across the charity’s 13 shops in Preston, South Ribble and Chorley.

Rachel Hewitt, head of trading at St Catherine’s Hospice, shares her top tips for finding hidden treasures and bagging bargains across the charity’s 13 shops in Preston, South Ribble and Chorley:

 

DSC_2274Charity shops are a great place to find good quality, pre-loved items, from clothes and accessories to homeware, furniture and books. Here are my top five tips for savvy shopping in St Catherine’s stores.

1) Be imaginative

It’s always fun to shop around, and bargain-hunters can get a real buzz when they find a perfect piece at our clothes stores.

It’s great to have a good rummage and find some hidden treasures, but some of our shops specialise in certain types of clothing, so it’s worth heading to specific stores if you have something particular in mind.

For example, our Penwortham boutique is full of posh, funky clothing, perfect for people looking for fancy new outfits for a night out. For anyone going on a cruise or holiday where they’d like to dress to impress, our Longridge store and Lune Street shop in Preston city centre are the places to head for cocktail dresses and formal wear. And the Ashton shop in Preston is ideal for anyone wanting a good rummage.

My advice would be to think outside of the box and be creative when putting outfits together.
Charity shops are a treasure trove of quirky clothing and accessories – from hats down to shoes – which could really make you stand out from the crowd. But they’re also great for bagging on-trend items at a fraction of the high street cost.

St Catherine's Hospice Penwortham Boutique, Priory Lane. credit: leeboswellphotography.comFashion always comes full circle; at the minute, we have plenty of chic denim skirts on our rails which are bang on trend right now.

With a little imagination and confidence, you can come out of our shops with bags full of novelty finds and fashionable clothing to spruce up your wardrobe.


2) Get to know our volunteers

All of our shops are predominantly run by amazing, kind, committed volunteers who really know their stuff when it comes to current stock, as well as what’s going on at the hospice.

My advice? Use them! They can act as your own personal shoppers and are a really friendly bunch who love working with customers to put together amazing outfits.

For some people, the idea of trawling through rails of clothing is exciting, but for anyone short on time or for shoppers who have something particular in mind, I’d recommend making a beeline for our shop assistants for advice.

They can point you in the right direction and tell you what’s on offer during your visit, and they’ve even been known to tip off regular customers when something comes in which they think would be right up their street – so it pays off to get them on side!

St Catherine's Hospice Charity shop, LuneStreet, Preston. credit: leeboswellphotography.com3) Shop ethically
‘Ethical’ seems to be the buzzword at the minute, and it doesn’t have to mean making sacrifices. Shopping ethically in our charity stores is a good way to freshen up your wardrobe whilst also continuing to support St Catherine’s.

It’s all about recycling; just because you’ve bought a new top at one of our clothing shops doesn’t mean you can’t donate it back again once you’ve worn it a few times.

Use our shops like libraries – buying items at a bargain price before bringing them back and finding something new to add to your collection.

People know they can trust St Catherine’s at every stage of the donation process –they can count on us to really look after their pre-loved goods, and those choosing to shop with us know that we only sell good quality items.

Chorley furniture interiorSupporters also understand that we make the most of each donation we receive with the aim of generating the most funds possible for the charity. For example, items which we think could make a fair bit of money are saved for our online eBay shop; books are sold in most of our stores but we have a dedicated book shops in Chorley and Ashton where people can find hundreds of titles; and homeware donations go to either our furniture shops in Chorley and Leyland or our brand new St Catherine’s Superstore in Preston.

4) Find top brand clothing

Unlike some of the national charities which ‘cherry-pick’ branded clothing and send the best stuff to head office, at St Catherine’s, all types of clothing make it on to the shop floor.

That means you can find anything from Tesco to Top Shop, and M&S to Jacques Vert.

Charity shopping isn’t about bric-a-brac and knock-offs – far from it. It’s about updating your look without breaking the bank, and getting that great feeling of supporting a brilliant cause at the same time.

You may not be up for cycling 100 miles or jumping out of a plane to raise money for St Catherine’s, but by spending a few pounds in our stores, or donating items for re-sale, you’re making a valued contribution to a local charity which depends on the generosity and support of our community to generate much-needed funds.

Chorley book shop 165) Spread the word

The success of our shops relies on members of the public supporting them, and I’d really urge you to become part of that community by telling your friends and family all about the shops you’ve visited and what you discovered there.

Not only will this help get more customers through our doors and in turn, raise vital funds for the hospice – it also means that the more people who know about us, the more donations we’ll receive, and the more bargains will be on offer for you! It’s a shop-savvy cycle.

All the profits raised at our shops go towards the specialised care provided by St Catherine’s at the hospice as well as out in the community and in people’s homes.

Our aim is to help more people with life-shortening illnesses have a good quality of life and, when the time comes, comfort and dignity in death through specialised care, and support and information for patients and their loved ones.

The more awareness we can raise and the more people we can encourage to shop with us, the more people we can help at all stages of their journey.

Picture by Chris Bull for St Catherine's Hospice 21-11-13I hope this has given you an insight into how to use our charity shops to your advantage. And if you haven’t visited any yet, please just pop in and see for yourself what we’re all about. (A full list of our stores and their locations can be found here).

We have a dedicated donation centre on site at the hospice where you can drop off any items you think someone else could make use of, or you can leave items with the assistants at any of our stores.

And remember that they’re more than just shops – they’re community hubs where people can get advice and information from our staff and volunteers about the charity itself. It’s not all about generating income, it’s also about raising awareness.

For example, hospice nurses will be using our shops as a base during Dying Matters Week from 9th May to speak to people about end-of-life care and planning ahead, giving advice about funeral arrangements, wills, and becoming organ donors.

We’re immensely proud of how our shops have become well established in their local communities, and are incredibly grateful to the people who support them – from our hard-working volunteers to our loyal customers.

We hope to see you soon – happy shopping!

Our Next Event

Upcoming Events

Become a Volunteer

St Catherine’s Hospice relies on the hard work and support of its team of more than 700 dedicated volunteers. They are at the heart of the Hospice and play an essential role in enabling us to provide the services we do.

Register your interest

Join Our Lottery

For just £1 you could win the jackpot of £2,000! And the best bit? All profits raised through the lottery are spent directly on patient care delivered by St Catherine's at the hospice in Lostock Hall and in communities across Central Lancashire.

Play Lottery

Take a look around

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