An Invitation to Get Involved with the Work of St Ann’s Hospice
Eamonn O’Neal is Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, tells us about the role St Ann’s Hospice plays in the local community, and how businesses can get involved for mutual benefit…
It’s true that charities and businesses are different in many ways. Our products and services vary, as may the channels we use to engage with the customers or the service users we work with. But, nevertheless, the gap between businesses and the not for profit sector has narrowed significantly in recent years.
One area in which this is true – for both businesses and charities – is in the power of harnessing and benefitting from the amazing community spirit that exists in our localities. Whether that’s the virtual community online supporting an organisation via social media, or a physical group of people who help us to achieve our goals, we can’t ever underestimate the power of those communities, whichever sector we work within.
I’m proud to say that at St Ann’s Hospice, we’ve been providing care to people from our local communities for almost half a century. That proud history brings with it a sense of responsibility too. A responsibility that as the current guardians of this local organisation, we need to ensure that the hospice remains relevant and fit for purpose well into the next century and beyond – to provide care for our grandchildren and great grandchildren’s generations too.
We can only do that thanks to the wider St Ann’s community though. There’s an army of more than 700 volunteers who work with us to help staff deliver care, selflessly offering their time to make the lives of others better. We can’t thank them enough, and we simply couldn’t carry on supporting our patients and their families without them.
As a charity which only receives around a third of its funding from the NHS, we’re also reliant on our amazing community of supporters – both individuals and businesses – that help us to achieve the £16,000 we need to bring in every single day to keep our services running.
Other members of the St Ann’s community help us to spread the word about our work, both online, on social media and in person. Greater Manchester has a population of more than a million people and we aspire to provide world-class support for as many of those who would benefit from our services as possible. Many people don’t realise that we can help them right from the point of diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, throughout treatment, and afterwards too. Whether that care is carried out in a hospice building, or out in the community, we know that our services are valued and valuable to the local people we serve – and they remain free at the point of delivery. We need the support of as many people as possible to help us to shout that message from the rooftops, helping us to reach those whose lives may be improved by our specialist care.
For businesses, the days of well-intentioned CSR statements being left to gather dust on a shelf have long passed. Canny organisations are realising that working closely with a charitable cause can not only benefit a business’s bottom line, but can also help increase staff engagement and enhance the reputation of a brand – and it’s not always about making a financial donation.
Community businesses like Give2Gain know that there are many varied ways companies can work with charitable organisations in their communities. The best charities like to understand the motivations of a business and take time to recognise the primary reasons for their support. They won’t just offer an off the shelf approach, but will instead come up with a raft of suggestions for how you could work together.
There are lots of ways businesses can help out, from joint PR or support of social media campaigns mentioned earlier, to offering volunteering hours or simply running a bake sale or adding a collection tin to a counter or office.
Charities often have volunteers or staff who can come and talk to employees about their cause, and feedback from businesses we work with has shown that team morale is also positively impacted by charity work, as staff feel they’re contributing to something worthwhile that helps their local community.
We’re always keen to hear from people interested in supporting the hospice in whatever way they can. Please do get in touch with the team on 0161 498 3631, email Annabel Toleman on email@example.com, or visit our website at www.sah.org.uk to find out more.