With Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) getting behind us as their charity of the year, their fundraising has been reaching new heights!

Recently, Housing Officer Paula Williams went above and beyond to bravely venture up on the roof of one of the landmark 43m-high Mount Wise Towers after she was ‘persuaded’ to take on the challenge, raising sponsorship money for St Luke’s in the process.

It’s not every day a Housing Officer finds herself encountering the dizzy heights of being 17 floors up, so how did it come about?

Once a month the roofs of all three towers undergo inspection to ensure they’re in good order. While this is normally carried out by specialists in building safety, Pete Bold from PCH’s Minor Works team invited Paula to don the harness and join in with an inspection as a highly original way to support St Luke’s.

Paula, who used to work in community outreach, still remembers a local man she met while running a supper club for socially isolated older men and how wonderfully St Luke’s cared for him at the end of his life.

She said: “I had a real soft spot for Gilbert and so felt this was something really good I could do to help the charity.”

When she visited Turnchapel for a tour, Paula told us: “I’m no fan of heights so when I came out of the tower’s roof hatch I was shaking. Wearing the safety harness and using ropes, I had to make my way all around the edge.

“I then got the privilege of the most amazing views across the whole of the city, the moors and over to Cornwall – incredible!”

Learn more about becoming St Luke’s charity of the year.

Our fundraising events volunteers are our unsung heroes. There to give a smile and cheer of encouragement when the going gets tough and to make your personal challenge unforgettable.

Raising money to ensure patients and their families get the support they need, when they need it is a real team effort. In fact, an event volunteer plays as much of a role in making this care possible as the people taking part. Without them the event would simply not happen and we are truly grateful for this amazing act of kindness.

Did you know it takes 80 volunteers to put on our Tour de Moor cycling event?

Volunteers are urgently required to help at Tour de Moor on the morning of Sunday 30 September at Yelverton. From marshalling to helping on the water station and registration desk, if you can spare a few hours – we’d love to hear from you.

Drop us a line, events@stlukes-hospice.org.uk, call 01752 492626 or drop us a DM on social media.

At St Luke’s, we have a wealth of expertise in end of life care and we don’t just keep it to ourselves. We share our knowledge, skills and experience to help other healthcare professionals and the people they look after.

Along with members of our clinical staff, our Education team is set to facilitate an event for the East Cornwall Primary Care team this November. Aimed at a range of healthcare practitioners, including GPs, nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, it will focus on how best to support patients and their families when it comes to advance care planning (ACP).

This future planning can ensure an individual’s choices are considered in clinical decision making if the individual has lost the capacity to communicate their choices should certain situations arise.

However, ACP can involve some sensitive and often challenging decisions around issues such as resuscitation and refusal of treatment, and can therefore be avoided by both the individual themselves or the healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care.

The training session will aim to help by breaking down some of the associated taboos and barriers, looking at ways to initiate the conversation in a patient-centred way.

It will also focus on the legal requirements behind the discussions and decisions, such as human rights and mental capacity, and highlight the tools and documentation available to support these conversations, such as treatment escalation plans and mental capacity assessments. Learn more about bespoke training and courses available to healthcare professionals.

With St Luke’s having cared for his friend Paula Gerry, Nigel Croft from Tamerton Foliot was keen to give back to our charity. That’s why he grabbed his trainers and ran a staggering 100 miles in 24 hours!

Taking part in Hope 24 at Newnham Park, Nigel went without sleep to meet his target, and was joined by Paula’s husband Steve and many other friends for a couple of 5-mile laps.

Nigel said, “I knew Paula for almost 30 years and she was a dear friend. Always smiling and finding positive ways to help out and support our drama group, she was vibrant, friendly, a great organiser and had a tremendous sense of fun.

“Before she sadly lost her battle with cancer last November, Paula was helped and supported by St Luke’s and Pals of POOCH (Plymouth Oncology Outpatients and Chemotherapy), so this is my way of giving back to these special teams.”

Thank you, Nigel, for raising £2,050 for St Luke’s in memory of Paula. You really have gone that extra mile!

Pictured with Nigel is St Luke’s receptionist volunteer Angie Tourle, a former colleague of Nigel’s. Learn more how you can get involved with St Luke’s.

Got something you no longer want or need? Don’t just chuck it – use Gone for Good instead! Available for both Android and iPhones, this handy app is a great way to get rid of unwanted furniture or a bag of clothes you no longer need, for example, while giving the charity of your choice a boost.

All you need to do is download the free app, take a photo of the item you want to donate, add a brief description of the item and select the charity you want to benefit. You then add your contact details and the charity will be in touch to arrange collection for a time that suits you.

There you have it, a simple and convenient way to shift that unwanted item and do good at the same time. Please spread the word about this great little app – think about how much good it could do for St Luke’s! Learn more.

It’s bright and eye-catching and features several familiar friendly faces – it’s St Luke’s new volunteer recruitment campaign!

With ages ranging from 13 to 90, our volunteers are at the heart of St Luke’s and we simply couldn’t provide our vital services without them. Our challenge is to continue to attract these generous spirits so that whether it’s our events, our charity shops, our Distribution Centre or in the kitchen or in maintenance, we have a sufficient number of committed volunteers to work alongside our hardworking staff so that St Luke’s continues to deliver outstanding care. Thanks to the creative talent of the in-house Marketing and Communications team, we have a really strong suite of marketing materials to help with this. With vibrant and engaging posters, pullup banners, postcards, social media and TV animation, as well a dedicated ‘pod’ for events, the message that volunteering for St Luke’s makes an important difference will be well and truly out there!

Importantly, the campaign features some of the many inspiring volunteers from across our charity, so you’re bound to recognise a face or two. And using their words, which focus on what they’ve gained while they’ve been giving back, adds real impact.

Sanna Tyrvainen, Volunteer Services Manager at St Luke’s, said: “With an organisation of our size that provides such a vital service, we need to recruit volunteers all year round and can never be complacent. Our many shops, in particular, require a lot of volunteers to help ensure they run smoothly. “In fact, we have an urgent need for more retail volunteers and we hope this campaign will help spread the message. People don’t have to commit huge amounts of time – the willingness to give a couple of hours a week can make a big difference.”

If you or anyone you know would like to find out more about volunteering with St Luke’s, please go to our website or call 01752 401172.

If you usually bypass charity shops, it’s well worth having a re-think!

Our St Luke’s charity shop at Ridgeway, Plympton, is throwing open its doors on the evening of Thursday 6 September and everyone is welcome.

Pop in between 5pm and 8pm to find out about the shop and also the role of our fantastic volunteers, who give their time knowing our shops bring in vital income that we couldn’t do without.

With nibbles kindly supplied by the Co-op, wine, and musical entertainment from the U3A Plym Chords Fun Choir, it’s a great opportunity to meet our lovely shop manager Trudi, too.

We look forward to seeing you!

Everything you need to know about our charity, in one document. Our 2018 impact report is available to read online now.

Our amazing volunteers are at the heart of St Luke’s and the services we provide. We appreciate them every day and this national Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June 2018), we want to say an extra big thank you to them all for the difference they make.

We spoke with volunteers across our community to gain more insight into the work they do, what motivates them and what they gain in return. As we’re sure you’ll agree, they’re a real inspiration!

Find out more about volunteering opportunities at St Luke’s.

Imagine combining the trip of a lifetime with the opportunity to make a difference both here in Plymouth and in one of the world’s poorest countries – that’s the opportunity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is offering those who want to push their boundaries physically and mentally and use their skills to help global hospice care.

The charity’s Malawi Challenge 2019 combines an exciting physical challenge with helping people in the country known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, while raising vital funds for the compassionate care St Luke’s gives and the special memories the organisation creates every day for patients and their families when time is short.

The eight-day challenge includes a two-day climb up majestic Mulanje Mountain – with the opportunity to run part of the route for those wanting to push themselves even harder – and visits to rural home-based clinics, as well as enjoying some of Africa’s most breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

Famously friendly, Malawi is one of Africa’s most beautiful countries, but it is also one of its poorest, with 60 per cent of its people earning less than 93 pence a day.

Participants in the challenge (6 – 13 April 2019) will see a different side to Africa and meet dedicated, passionate and inspiring people committed to delivering healthcare in a challenging, cripplingly under-resourced environment. It is an opportunity for people from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions to pool their skills for the benefit of Malawians in need of their help.

One of the first to get on board with the challenge is intrepid Ann Brady, who celebrates her 70th birthday this December.

A nurse with 50 years’ experience, Ann is widely travelled and has trekked the Great Wall of China but has never been to Malawi. She is keen to use her nursing skills to benefit those living in the cripplingly poor country, where life expectancy is low.

Ann, who was Marie Curie Nurse of the Year in 2006 and lives in Worcester, said: “A good friend works at St Luke’s and having heard all about the fantastic care the team gives, I’ve been inspired to sign up for this amazing challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all backgrounds with knowledge and skills they can use generously to make a difference, whether they’re health-related or in another area.

“We’ll all come with different experience but share a common goal to help in whatever way we can. It’s also a great opportunity to see stunning scenery, and I’m looking forward to extending my stay so that I can enjoy a safari.”

While those from a medical or social work background can support or offer training workshops to Malawi’s Palliative Care Support Trust Blantyre, which provides palliative care for children and adults through clinics and home visits, those from different backgrounds can use their skills to support other organisations, such as those focussing on education, law and women’s rights.

Speaking about the challenge, Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity – not only for the amazing trip and all the wonderful memories it will create but for people to share their skills, any skills they have, and work with Malawians within the healthcare and community care system.

“Everyone who takes part will be pushing their boundaries physically and mentally, joining a team committed to supporting global hospice care, and really giving something back at home and in the warm heart of Africa as an incredible global compassionate citizen.”

Those taking part in the challenge have the opportunity to extend their stay and enjoy activities such as scuba diving and kayaking at Lake Mulanje – or can simply relax in a hammock and take in the stunning surroundings. They can also travel into Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania or South Africa.

More information about the Malawi Challenge 2019 is available here.