St Catherine’s Hospice and volunteer Jamie get national recognition at top awards
A pioneering project which has opened up the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice to the local community has won a top national award.
The annual Hospice UK Awards recognise the valuable contribution made by individuals and innovative schemes and partnerships to hospice care in communities across the country.
And the ground-breaking St Catherine’s Park initiative, which saw the hospice grounds connected to neighbouring council-owned land this summer – creating the first park to open in South Ribble in 40 years – has achieved high acclaim by winning the ‘Innovation in Income Generation’ award.
The hospice’s chief executive, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: “The purpose of the park is to help make St Catherine’s a more accessible and welcoming place for all; so that when people need the charity’s services as a patient or family member, they will feel that they are in familiar surroundings.
“We also want people to feel that they can come back to remember and celebrate a loved one’s life in this peaceful and poignant setting.
“We’re delighted to receive this award for the project, which is a result of partnership work with South Ribble Council and local Rotary clubs. Many have worked really hard to develop St Catherine’s Park – which stretches from the impressive war memorial off Lostock Lane to The Mill café – incorporating a sensory garden, bluebell wood, playing fields and a wetland and woodland reserve.”
He added: “The Mill café is proving particularly popular with the public, with around 80,000 visits over the last year.
“I’d invite anyone who hasn’t been yet to come along and see the beautiful stone barn conversion for themselves, which is separate from the main hospice building. Drinking our coffee supports our patients!
“By encouraging people to visit St Catherine’s whenever they wish, we believe this will encourage new volunteers and supporters who are prepared to help future generations in need of hospice care.”
As well as helping to raise the profile of the hospice – both regionally and nationally – St Catherine’s Park also has the potential to generate future income and support for the charity, as fundraising events are held in the grounds, and local families feel more connected to the cause and are inspired to do their bit to help raise funds.
The Hospice UK Awards, for which a ceremony was held at the annual conference in Liverpool on Wednesday, also recognised the efforts of one of the Lostock Hall charity’s dedicated volunteers, presenting him with a Special Commendation.
Jamie Ward works in The Mill café, a social enterprise scheme in the grounds of St Catherine’s Park. Living with Asperger’s syndrome, Jamie told how his volunteering experience has boosted his confidence and skills – and reviewers on websites such as TripAdvisor often comment on his friendly and accommodating nature.
He was commended for his commitment and determination, and for being such a wonderful ambassador of St Catherine’s.
Stephen added: “Our very special congratulations go to Jamie. He is one of a number of our volunteers who overcome personal challenges to be part of the St Catherine’s team. They are all shining lights that brighten our day and carry our admiration.”
Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: “This year we have seen some extraordinary examples of innovation that are testament to the dynamism and adaptability of the hospice movement, especially in developing creative solutions to extend hospice care to more people.
“Our awards also recognise some truly inspirational people who give their time so generously to support people approaching the end of life and their families. Their extraordinary commitment and willingness to go the extra mile embody the very best of hospice care.”
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