Tips from The Mill donated to St Catherine’s Hospice to ‘Pay for a Day’ of care
Volunteers and staff working in a café which gives all profits to St Catherine’s Hospice have kindly donated more than 18 months’ worth of tips back to the charity – and have handed over a whopping £13,400.
Colleagues at The Mill café and community hub in the grounds of St Catherine’s Park, Lostock Hall, made a decision when the social enterprise launched in November 2014, that they would give up their tips from customers to help the charity even further.
The Mill is owned and run by St Catherine’s to provide a welcoming place for patients, families and local people that feels ‘non-medical’ and offers some normality. It has proved to be very popular and helps fund the hospice which requires millions of pounds to run each year.
The huge donation is enough to cover the cost of care for people with life-shortening illnesses for a day – which includes the 19-bed inpatient unit, outpatient clinics, day therapy and specialist care for over 200 people at home.
The tips will be used to pay for the charity’s specialised services on Friday, 8th July; the 31st anniversary of the in-patient unit opening.
Chair of the Board of Trustees at St Catherine’s, Cliff Hughes, presented staff and volunteers with certificates and thanked them for their efforts. He said: “It’s amazing how The Mill project has taken off, and I’m astounded by the impact it has giving patients an opportunity to enjoy social time with family and friends. It is a place that people choose to come to because they enjoy it rather than one that they have to because they are poorly.
“One thing we’ve been trying to work on over the past few years is taking away that stigma that hospices are gloomy places where people go to die. We want to encourage people to visit the site, which we’ve been doing by developing the grounds and expanding St Catherine’s Park, and by holding a number of fundraising events in our gardens. The Mill was a big part of that plan to welcome the community to St Catherine’s.”
He added: “The café has become a major contribution to the community of South Ribble, changing the concepts of hospices by showing that we are here to help people live with life-shortening illnesses rather than to simply die from them.”
The money from the tips has been set aside for the poignant date of 8th July under the charity’s Pay for a Day scheme.
Through this initiative, individuals, businesses and groups are invited to donate or fundraise to cover the daily costs of all the hospice services for £11,500; or the in-patient unit alone which costs £6,000; or the day therapy unit and community Clinical Nurse Specialist team, which costs £3,300.
Chief executive Stephen Greenhalgh said: “It has really touched our hearts that on top of working extremely hard and giving their time at The Mill, staff and volunteers have also chosen to donate their well-earned tips to the charity – it’s a very large sum of money.
“The idea of The Mill came about following a number of conversations, one of which stands out in my mind from a few years ago. I was speaking with a woman in the hospice grounds who was waiting for her dad to come out of bereavement counselling here, and she told me that her mum and dad used to love coming to St Catherine’s, because it’s such a lovely place.
“It made me realise that we ought to try and build on that and make St Catherine’s a place where more people love to visit. Facing life-shortening illnesses is really tough but it can make such a difference if people are coming to a familiar and uplifting place. The attitude of our staff is at the heart of that, and it’s clear from the level of tips generated that they are really appreciated.”
Staff are also celebrating after a high volume of great reviews on online website TripAdvisor has earned The Mill a Certificate of Excellence for ‘Superior Service’.
– The Mill is open from 9am until 5pm every day, and the charity is on the lookout for more volunteer café assistants to serve food and drinks and work on the tills. To find out more,email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 629171, or visit www.themillatstcatherinespark.co.uk.
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