When it comes to boosting your skills, making new friends and improving your health, there’s nothing quite like volunteering. Giving some of your spare time – whether it’s an hour or two once a week or several days a month – to help a good cause has been shown to do all of this and more while providing critical support to help charities like St Luke’s.

Our volunteers are absolutely vital to the operation of St Luke’s and we couldn’t do what we do without them. From students to retired people and from a wide variety of backgrounds, they generously give their time in a host of different roles across our organisaton.

While many are based in our shops, others give their time to help in the cafe at our specialist unit at Turnchapel, become befrienders to our patients or marshal at our key fundraising events, such as the Neon Midnight Walk and Tour de Moor. And there’s another way our fantastic volunteers pitch in – hunting for treasure at our Charity Shop Distribution Centre in Plympton!

It’s at the warehouse that each year thousands of donated items are given by people who choose to drop them off there rather than in our charity shops. Clothes, coins, crockery, books, records, toys, games, jewellery – the sheer variety of the items we receive is something to behold! And all of them need careful sorting, which is where our volunteers come in.

“We call these volunteers our treasure hunters,” said Mark Kendall, Logistics and Recycling Manager. “That’s because they’ve developed a good eye for spotting the interesting and unusual – and sometimes highly collectable – items that can help us raise that bit more money for St Luke’s.

“They work hard, sifting through bric-a-brac before it’s allocated according to which of our shops it suits best, and always keeping an eye out for something special – so it can be an exciting role and there’s often a real buzz.”

On Saturday 21 April, there’s an opportunity to find out more at the Open Day at the Distribution Centre. From 11am to 3pm and open to everyone, it’s a family-friendly event with activities for children and a barbecue, as well as guided tours and taster sessions giving insight into what it’s like to be a ‘treasure hunter’ for St Luke’s. Those who attend will also see the recycling side, which generates income for our charity too.

Mark said: “Without these volunteers, things would grind to a halt. It’s their generosity in giving their time and skills that makes all the difference. And as well as sometimes finding that ‘treasure’, many volunteers say that expanding their circle of friends and feeling part of something as important as St Luke’s and the care we provide gives them an amazing boost.”

Event information:
Volunteer Open Day
Saturday 21 April 2018
11am to 3pm
St Luke’s Charity Shop Distribution Centre, Plympton, PL7 4JN. Directions.

No booking required, just turn up on the day!

For more information call 01752 401172 and ask for volunteer services.

With just two weeks left to register, places for our our Men’s Day Out on 24 March are going fast!

Not only is it an opportunity for a great time with your mates, it’s a chance to celebrate the memory of someone special.

This is just what a team from the Co-op depot in Plympton will be doing when they get together for the day of rugby and banter and walk in memory of Mark, younger brother of colleague Adam Weir, who was looked after by St Luke’s until he sadly passed away recently.

Adam’s colleague, Warehouse Shift Manager Alex Whitehouse, said: “We know from the great care Mark received – and the way St Luke’s cared for a colleague of mine when I was in the Navy – that the nurses there are all angels. They always go above and beyond.

“Mark meant so much to so many people. This is a great way to celebrate his life and raise money for a fantastic charity too. Currently, five of us have signed up and we’re recruiting others. It will be a great day out for an amazing cause!”

Men’s Day Out is powered by IU Energy and there’ll be an extra FREE pint on the day for every guy who raises £100 or more in sponsorship.

Sign up here!

Year 12 and 13 students from Plympton Academy spent the day at St Luke’s to learn more about the role of hospice care in our community and the skills required to pursue a career in health and social care. The students are studying the BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care.

If your school or college is interested in a similar experience, please contact Sister Sue Horsfall | shorsfall@stlukes-hospice.org.uk or call 01752 401172.


Last year, the wonderful crew of the six yachts that took part in the Eddystone Pursuit on behalf of St Luke’s raised a fantastic £4,000 in prize money and sponsorship – enough for us to care for four patients and their families at home.

We’d love to match – or surpass! – that figure this year, to help us care for more people who need our compassionate care.

The Eddystone Pursuit is the South West’s biggest sailing fundraising event and is a 26 mile challenge to the Eddystone Lighthouse and back.

This year’s event is on 23 June and you can sign up from today. In doing so, you’ll experience an exhilarating challenge while making a difference to our patients when time is short.

If you have a boat or have the skills to lend a hand on deck and want to support St Luke’s, please contact Pete Ward in our Fundraising Department on 01752 492626 or email pward@stlukes-hopice.org.uk

In the second summary of his thought-provoking articles on hospice care, Dr Jeff Stephenson, St Luke’s Consultant in Palliative Care and Medical Director, focuses on the challenges facing hospices – and how we’re preparing to meet them.

“St Luke’s and other hospices face major challenges as we work out how to respond to the anticipated changes in our society and the economic uncertainties. The hospice movement is 50 years old and its story has in many respects changed the narrative of the dying and bereaved in our society for the better. But movements peter out and influence wanes, and it is the next chapter that will determine whether in another 50 years time the story is alive and as positive as it is now, or just a footnote in history.

“More than 1 in 5 people in north, east and west Devon are over the age of 65, and by 2021 this will have risen to almost 1 in 4. Nationally, by 2035 half of all people dying will be aged over 85. As we get older the likelihood of living and dying with more than one medical condition rises dramatically, with consequences on health and social care provision. For instance, the number of people with dementia is projected to double by 2051. And all this at a time when money is getting tighter. The NHS is already creaking at the seams, and hospices are feeling the squeeze as it becomes harder to raise money. It isn’t just a case of how we are going to pay for the necessary care, but also who is going to provide it and where?

“One way for hospices to respond would be to focus on our buildings and beds. But that would be putting our heads in the sand, and it would diminish our impact on the bigger story. Only 5% of deaths happen in a hospice, and this proportion will reduce as the number of deaths rises. But times of great challenge are times of great opportunity. What if those with a terminal illness could be supported wherever they are? What if you didn’t have to be in a hospice bed in order to be confident of having a good death?

“At St Luke’s this has become our vision – a community where no person has to die alone, in pain or in distress. We have embraced the concept of ‘hospice without walls’, taking the principles and values of hospice care into every care setting. We launched a crisis team and have embarked on projects to reach out to the homeless community and those in prison.

“We realise that we can’t reach everyone directly, so have invested in education and training for nursing homes and other professionals, and we are collaborating directly with other providers in the region. We are also embracing new technology to find new ways of providing care.

“We also recognise that to achieve anywhere near our vision is going to require the whole community to engage with death and dying, and bring it out of the shadows and the remit of professionals alone. We all have a terminal condition – it is called life! There are already many community groups and individuals supporting those with terminal illness, and we need to support, encourage and multiply them.

“Our hospices are national treasures, but if they are not to become white elephants we need to adapt to the changing environment. And perhaps public perception needs to change a little as well. When we give to, and fundraise for hospices, we need to understand that they represent far more than beds, available to check into should we or our loved ones ever need to – and that that’s okay, because there is so much more at stake here. It is about changing the story for the better for thousands of people every year for whom the reality of a terminal illness crashes in, changing the script of their anticipated future.”

Each February, Student Volunteering Week encourages students to get involved with civic life and make a difference.

Among our student volunteers here at St Luke’s are Plymouth University students Olivia Ridholls, 19, and Georgina Miller, 21. They told us about their roles and what volunteering with our charity means to them.

Second-year business student Olivia said: “I’ve been aware of St Luke’s for a long time as my parents do the Lottery and I’ve seen the branding around the city. When I wanted to give some time to making a difference locally, I knew I couldn’t do better than volunteer with St Luke’s.
“I’m with the Events team within Fundraising one day a week and have a great title – Volunteer Treasure Hunter! This means I’m often on the phone talking to various businesses and encouraging them to support St Luke’s by donating goods for our events. For example, I recently helped by securing 27 barrels of beer from Salcombe Brewery for our Men’s Day Out – that’s 1,950 pints!

“I love the role and it’s a great fit for my business course, too. Since starting at St Luke’s my confidence has really grown, which helped me when I applied for a placement as part of the next stage of my degree. I couldn’t have asked to be with a nicer team, and I would love to come back and continue volunteering here during my final year.”

Georgina, who is studying for a masters degree in brand design and management, said: “I’m mum to my six-year-old son as well as being a student, but I really wanted to volunteer as well because I feel it’s important to give something back.

“I enjoy volunteering with St Luke’s so much that I have not just one role, but two! I started with one day a week in the Drake charity shop in the city centre. Later, through a business networking event at the University, I heard about the opportunity with the Events team and learned a lot more about the various sides of the charity. I joined in June and help in any way that’s needed, from placing signage and stock-taking to briefing other volunteers. I love the variety and the people.

“I’m really proud to be part of St Luke’s and volunteering here is giving me really helpful examples I can use in my coursework, so it’s benefiting my studies too. Working in fundraising is great experience for a marketing career so this is ideal for me, and I know I’m helping a fantastic charity at the same time.”

What can you do to make Plymouth a compassionate place for everyone living, studying and working here? That’s the big topic drawing people from across education, the arts, business, health, charities and the voluntary sector to join the conversation at the Compassionate City Conference on 17 May, facilitated by St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week (14 – 20 May), the charity is facilitating the event to highlight the positive work already happening across the city while encouraging co-operation and collaboration to address current and future challenges.

According to the Compassionate City Charter for end of life, a compassionate city is a community that recognises that all natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, love and loss occur every day across our society. It defines a compassionate community as one that recognises that care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not solely a task for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility.

Key speakers at the event include Allan Kellehear, Professor of Sociology and Compassionate Care at the University of Bradford and author of ‘Compassionate Cities: Public Health and End of Life Care’, and Tam Martin Fowles, UK Ambassador for the Charter for Compassion International, Hope in the Heart CIC.

In addition, delegates will hear about inspirational case studies, including those relating to St Luke’s work with the homeless and prisoners, and participate in round table discussions to share information, ideas and form actions that can make a difference in any setting, from schools and colleges to places of worship, the workplace, care homes and cafes.

Speaking about the conference, Abenaa Gyamfuah-Assibey, St Luke’s Community Development Worker, said: “We’re proud to be part of this vital conversation, which will encourage the kind of joined-up thinking our city needs to put ideas into action and see positive outcomes that will support everyone at times of difficulty and loss, regardless of their age or background.

“An important part of this – as outlined in the charter – is raising awareness around death and dying, loss and care. It is in communities and workplaces that we need to tackle these ‘taboo’ subjects, and for this to happen we need to work together with everyone who has an interest in having a more open discussion.”

The conference takes place  at Boringdon Park Golf Club from 8.30am to 5pm. Places are £10 per person and can be booked online.

Cuz Cussen is a man on a mission, giving Plymouth people a live music extravaganza to remember while raising as much money as possible for St Luke’s and the care we give our patients and their families.

Cuz is the man behind the city’s annual two-day Rockfest, which will reach its tenth anniversary of raising money for St Luke’s this spring. He started the event 17 years ago, fundraising for various charities close to his heart, and it was following the death of his beloved mum Dot, in May 2008, that he decided to donate all the money raised each year to St Luke’s.

During the last few months of her life, Dot received care from St Luke’s and spent her last few days at Turnchapel. Seeing at first hand the dedication and compassion of our team meant that St Luke’s gained a special place in Cuz’s heart, which has spurred him on to raise an incredible £77,932 through Rockfest for our end of life care.

Cuz, who sadly lost his father just a few months after Dot passed away, works tirelessly to organise and deliver the event at Crash Manor nightclub in Union Street. With 20 bands playing everything from rock to reggae and blues to punk over the two days, plus a raffle with a variety of great prizes, it is a regular fixture in the city and Cuz is always moved by the generosity of those who support it.

“The bands play for no fee, and I’m always blown away by how generously people give at Rockfest,” said Cuz. “I think it’s all a testament to how many people’s lives have been touched by St Luke’s and how highly we all think of the charity. It’s my aim to just keep going and get to £100,000 by 2020. Organising it all is very intense – I’m running on empty afterwards – but what a buzz! It is great to be giving something back to the place that cared for mum so well.”

This year’s Rockfest is on 31 March and 1 April (1pm until late). Tickets are £10 per day on the door and as it is a family-friendly event, entry for under-18s is free, although they can’t stay past 7.30pm.

Bands confirmed for this year include Stone Vulture, Rusty Angels and Funky Munks.

Keep on rocking, Cuz – we appreciate all you do for us!

Get involved…
Rockfest 2018 on Facebook
Rockfest 2018 on Twitter

 

As two of the city’s most popular fundraising events are launched this month, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is laying down a challenge to men and women in the community – who can raise the most funds for the vital end of life care the charity provides?

Men’s Day Out and the ladies’ Neon Midnight Walk are two of St Luke’s flagship events, raising money to help ensure it can continue to give free and outstanding care to people living with a life limiting progressive illness, as well as supporting their families.

Both events are an opportunity for people to gather their friends, walk in memory of loved ones and create new memories while enjoying the fun atmosphere.

This year’s Men’s Day Out, on Saturday 24 March, is set to be manlier than ever. Powered by IU Energy, the day of rugby and banter will see 2,000 men – many in fancy dress – walking a 12km route through Plymouth city centre and along the South West Coast Path before enjoying a well-earned pasty and pint at Plymouth Albion RFC, where they’ll see Albion take on Coventry in a top of the table clash.

Events Fundraiser Rebecca Kelly said, “Men’s Day Out, generously sponsored by IU Energy, is hugely popular and sells out fast, so we’re urging our male supporters to register now to avoid disappointment. It’s a chance for them to do their bit, remember loved ones and have a great time.”

Registration for the event is £32, which provides a t-shirt, pasty, pint and rugby match ticket as well as covering the logistics of the day.

Also putting their best foot forward for St Luke’s will be thousands of women ‘getting their glow on’ to take part in this summer’s Neon Midnight Walk, on Saturday 21 July. The event, sponsored by Nash & Co Solicitors, will see the ladies striding along a 3, 6 or 13.1 mile route from the Piazza, Royal Parade, through Plymouth, remembering loved ones and enjoying the electric atmosphere with their friends.

There will be a warm-up with party tunes at the Piazza before the first walkers set off at 9pm. This year’s warm up will be lead by Cheezifit, the new craze that’s sweeping Plymouth, the innovative way to exercise whilst listening to your favourite cheesey tunes.

Rebecca Kelly said, “Uniting the women of our community, our Neon Midnight Walk is the city’s favourite ladies’ night out. We’re grateful to Nash & Co Solicitors for supporting this event once again, and we’re urging women of all ages and fitness levels to go even bigger and brighter this year, with neon outfits, lots of sparkle and glow sticks. And we’re introducing some good-natured rivalry – will it be the guys or the girls who raise the most for St Luke’s through these two events?”

Registration for the Neon Midnight Walk costs £22 and includes an exclusive neon t-shirt, as well as a medal and goody bag for all finishers.

Register for either of these events online, or call 01752 492626 for further details.