As a health-care charity Pendleside Hospice looks after around 1,500 people a year but at the same time has to be run like a big business. That’s because it is a fully-operational, 24-7, 365-days-a-year not-for-profit big business!
It employs around 120 staff and manages an army of 450 volunteers, as well as nine charity shops and a charity furniture store.
And apart from its 10-inpatient beds it also provides daily day service and outpatient services to dozens of patients and offers bereavement, counselling and therapy services.
The complexity of the business is also further enhanced by the North West’s biggest hospice-at-home team of nurses. More than 30 of them take to the road every day sometimes spending their entire shift at one patient’s home meeting their individual nursing requirements.
It costs more than £4million a year to run Pendleside of which in excess of £3million has to be raised through voluntary donations which have to be processed and administered.
The hospice, situated in Reedley on the border of the boroughs of Burnley and Pendle, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and the biggest fundraiser of the year was the corporate challenge where businesses competed against each other to raise the most money during the summer months.
The 37 companies of all shapes and sizes who entered raised an amazing £156,000 between June and September, with a whole range of activities from body waxing to cycling the length and breadth of Britain. The competitive spirit was sharpened by the publication every two weeks of a league table showing which business had raised most to date.
And more than 150 guests from all of the businesses attended the glitzy gala dinner and awards evening where a host of category winners were presented with their trophies.
It was the third year of the challenge and in total since it was launched in 2016 it has added more than £340,000 to the hospice’s much-needed kitty.
The challenge is a glowing example of how businesses in the Burnley and Pendle area have rallied to support the community’s hospice. But the challenge isn’t a one-way benefit provider.
Of course, the hospice is the overall winner but the corporate challenge has heightened staff morale within companies; has given empowerment to the staff who have been tasked to organise the individual campaigns; has broadened employer branding; and has generally ticked all the corporate social responsibility boxes.
Helen McVey, chief executive of Pendleside Hospice, said: “It’s always a challenge running a charity bearing in mind that you are also running a business. We have to continually keep the values of a charity in mind at the same time as looking at ways of increasing our revenue streams to ensure that Pendleside continues to succeed.
“My challenge as chief executive, as in any business, increases year by year.
And like the chief executive of any business I must adhere to all of the complex employment requirements and service provision.
“As a charity there has never been a more important time to seek the continued and increased support from the business community particularly when our allocation of money from the NHS has been frozen for the last 10 years.
“The financial challenge gets bigger and bigger and I see the collaboration between ourselves and business as having mutual benefits as is illustrated by the corporate challenge.”
Like the town’s Premier League football team, Pendleside Hospice punches above its weight and can be proud to claim that it sits comfortably in the Premier League of hospices.
A general misunderstanding is that the hospice only cares for cancer patients. In fact, it looks after the welfare of anyone who is suffering a life-shortening illness. Plus it has become an expert service for the care of people suffering from dementia.
It also looks after families and carers at its newly-launched family centre and offers bereavement counselling and care to anyone suffering after the death of a loved one whether they have been under the hospice’s palliative treatment or not.
As a business, the hospice runs training programmes for its qualified staff as well as operating an award-winning apprenticeship scheme.
It also broadcasts its message on visits to schools, factories and offices, and shares best practice with other hospices not only in the North West but across the country.
This year alone Pendleside has won the countywide Red Rose Not-For-Profit Business Award; the Making A Local Difference award at the Pendle Business Awards; and apprentice health care assistant Megan Pritchard claimed the health and social care title in the Accrington and Rossendale College’s Apprenticeship Awards.