Why Pendleside Hospice is a force to be reckoned with | Rachel Bayley

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.
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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.

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

Burnley Place Brand Manager Rachel BayleyBurnley Place Brand Manager Rachel Bayley
Burnley Place Brand Manager Rachel Bayley

Helen said: “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 230 hospices take part in this campaign across England and we are fourth in the country for how much money we raise."

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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," said Christina.

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 bereavement counselling for anyone, not just those who have had loved ones in the hospice. It can take, on average, 15 weeks for someone to be provided with counselling on the NHS, but the hospice can deliver such services typically in around five weeks. 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 10 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.

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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 corporation. And of course, there is the job satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference, as well as each day being varied.

5) It’s opened its doors to Covid patients. Where some hospices closed their doors to those with Covid (and of course each hospice has their own resources to manage), Pendleside Hospice opened its doors to such 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 safely do so. We felt this especially important when our NHS was overwhelmed with numbers and we wanted to help as much as possible," said Christine.

The hospice is launching its mega raisathon on May 26th at Towneley Park. Businesses can sign up to attend, where they will pledge their support for the June corporate 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 [email protected]

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