St Catherine’s builds bridges with Canada thanks to Rotary’s pioneering project
Rotary Clubs in Lancashire and Canada are ‘building bridges’ to support the work of St Catherine’s Hospice – and the partnership has resulted in a ground-breaking campaign to open the first-of-its-kind hospice in the province of Nova Scotia.
The Rotary Clubs of Longridge and North Preston, and Preston South, teamed up to work on a project with the Lostock Hall charity, aiming to open up the hospice grounds to the wider community.
Years of fundraising resulted in a brand new footbridge being created in the grounds of St Catherine’s Park, and dignitaries attended an official opening ceremony on Saturday.
And as a result of the local Rotary Clubs’ relationship with a Rotary Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia – which was pivotal to move forward with the St Catherine’s footbridge scheme – plans are now in place to secure funding for Nova Scotia’s first ever free-standing residential hospice.
Chief Executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, Stephen Greenhalgh, explained: “We held discussions with the local Rotary clubs about our desire to break down barriers which exist around hospices, and improve people’s understanding of what receiving care from a hospice is all about.
“Unfortunately, the word ‘hospice’ can be frightening to many, so we came to the conclusion a number of years ago that one way to break down the barriers would be to bring people together and open up the grounds of the hospice, giving people other reasons to come here so that in the future, if they find themselves in a situation where they or a family member needs our services, St Catherine’s is a familiar place.
“We shared this vision with the local Rotary clubs and the idea came to mind to build a footbridge, which has turned out to be a rather significant project in that the two clubs came together and approached Rotary International for support, which resulted in the club in Halifax becoming involved.”
Stella Roy, past district governor and a member of Halifax Harbourside Rotary Club in Nova Scotia, visited St Catherine’s last year to meet with Stephen and have a tour of the hospice.
“Stella really recognised the importance of hospice care and the need for facilities in Canada akin to what we have here in the UK,” Stephen said. “She was very interested in finding out more about how the care is provided and how we generate the income needed to keep the charity going.
“She also recognised the value in community involvement – appealing to people’s hearts, minds (and hands) to make things happen, which is why she was keen to support the Rotary Clubs’ campaign to build this bridge for us.”
He added: “It’s fantastic that on the back of all that, a site has been secured for Hospice Halifax with a view to funds being raised to open the facility. We wish them all the best; we know from speaking to people locally that lives are transformed by the compassionate and professional care that high quality hospices can provide.”
Norman Loan, club treasurer for the Rotary Club of Longridge and North Preston, said: “Discussions initially started four years ago about developing St Catherine’s Park and creating a new footbridge in a location which would connect the grounds, and also enable the hospice building and lawns to open up in front of people as they arrive and cross the bridge – it’s a nice welcome.
“We’ve been raising funds from various activities, such as beer festivals, comedy nights and tribute acts, and the Rotary Club of Preston South has held fundraising events too, such as its annual Steam Rally.
“We also approached the Rotary Foundation based in America to apply for a grant, and they said we needed the backing of an overseas club. Goosnargh is twinned with Halifax so they put us in touch with the Rotary Club of Halifax Harbourside.
“The stimulus to consider developing a hospice there came on the back of their visit to St Catherine’s, so it’s resulted in something very exciting for everyone involved.”
Local companies gave equipment and resources to support the footbridge project, including Ainscough Crane Hire, S & G Plant Services, Clive Hurt Plant Hire, and T W Fabrications.
Tom Taylor, Rotary Club of Preston South president elect, added: “There have been an awful lot of people giving their time and resources to support this project behind the scenes. It’s a very worthwhile cause, and I’m pleased at the great turnout for the official opening event.”
The St Catherine’s Footbridge was officially opened by the Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Linda Woollard, at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Chorley, Coun Doreen Dickinson, South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy, representatives from the hospice and rotary clubs, and District Governor Elect Malcolm Baldwin from Rotary International.
Dignitaries each tied a yellow ribbon to the bridge in memory of loved ones as part of the charity’s Yellow Ribbon Appeal, which will see hundreds of ribbons tied within the hospice grounds ahead of the annual Yellow Day Garden Fete on June 19.
Canapés and drinks were served on the top lawn of the hospice, courtesy of The Mill Outside catering firm, and patients and their families also joined in the celebrations.
Click here to see our full photo gallery from the day.
Share with your friends!