A fundraiser’s view of Christmas

My mission is for all our business supporters to have an insight into life here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Over the year, my blog has become more sporadic (!) but still aims to let you know about the great work happening here, give musings into corporate social responsibility practices, and what they really mean to the local community.

So, what is Christmas like at the Hospice?

When I think of last Christmas at the Hospice, I remember decorating the tree in our Butterfly Lounge, the annual festive dinner we all have together as a staff team, Christmas jumpers, oh and being really busy! Christmas is a hectic time for fundraisers. But equally it is heart-warming, as we get to spend time with people who want to do something for others over the festive season.

One of my standout memories from last year is when two colleagues from Phoenix Group decided to volunteer with us on Christmas day. They helped our catering team serve up a festive lunch and loved it so much that one of them regularly volunteers with us now.

This year, we have been even busier than the last, as we wanted to create a Winter Wonderland in the Hospice garden for individuals and loved ones to look out on from their rooms and take a walk through if they wish. We didn’t have any decorations or the manpower to do it, so we called on our corporate volunteer army.

And what a fantastic job they’ve done! Our brilliant army of corporate volunteers have created a Winter Wonderland by decorating their own tree in our garden to create a sparkling spectacular. My favourite part of the Wonderland is that as you walk around and see the different areas decorated by each company, you can see their personalities and ideas adding lots of festive magic and detail. Sadly, the snowmen that one team built have now melted!

When I was walking through the garden the other day to look at all the decorations, one of our individuals waved to me and smiled from the window. It made me realise how our corporate volunteers are making a big difference to the people spending time at the Hospice over Christmas.

When the teams had finished decorating, one of our nurses spent a little time sharing stories and answering questions. I always find that this is one of the most inspiring and heartfelt ways to understand what the Hospice team does on a daily basis. During one session, the team of volunteers asked about nursing ratios. Our nurse, Chris, explained that they have a good ratio, meaning that they are able to sit and read stories, have a natter, and wash and blow dry hair – whatever makes our individuals feel more comfortable. It reminds me that this is what makes hospice care so special. The nurse also spent time telling us about the hardest bit of working at a hospice, which for her is when you’ve built up a brilliant relationship with an individual then come into work and find out they have passed away. It’s amazing to see our nurses live in the moment with our individuals and make it count through kindness.

We often hear, from people we care for, that it’s the small things that make a difference. That’s why we want to say thank you to all the companies who have helped create the Winter Wonderland this year, because it is one of those small things! Each section of the Winter Wonderland – which was beautifully put together by 10 teams – will be judged by the design team at Selfridges on 22nd December. So, watch this space to see who will be crowned the winner!

What does the New Year bring?

As I look out over the garden at the decorations, I know we will be welcoming more volunteers soon to come and help us to take them down. As I glance the other way and see the box of chocolates, I know that I will soon have to get back onto the health kick!

So, what does the New Year have in store? Well, we are looking forward to our new campaign of course! We are embracing all things wellbeing and asking people to take on Step Together – a new campaign that is challenging Brummies to collectively walk 16 million steps, which is enough to walk around the world once! I’ve seen quite a few companies managing wellbeing and CSR policies together in recent times, so this feels like the perfect fit. The pledge is to step together as you remember loved ones lost. This actually holds dear to me, as I remember when my Nan died I started training for my first half marathon and would take the peace and quiet time whilst to remember her. I’m looking forward to taking lots of steps in the New Year, so I hope you will join me?

A massive thank you to all our supporters this year, you’ve all been amazing!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas,

Charlotte

 

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