The Donation Station. Pre-loved goods now being gathered at our Hoylake Donation Centre #wirralhospice #charityshops #pre-loved #volunteers #care #hospicecare #thankyou

Paddy Thumbs UpIt’s 9.45am on a bright Wednesday morning in Market Street in Hoylake. The cafés and bars are preparing their morning coffee and brunch offers, setting out neat tables and chairs for their customers in the open air as well as spacing them safely indoors.

Some retailers are also open and taking the necessary precautions so that their customers can shop safely whilst observing the current coronavirus guidelines.

Wirral Hospice St John’s big new Hoylake Donation Centre (HDC), at the former site of the Coop store, adjacent to The Row in Hoylake, is already buzzing with staff and volunteers sifting through thousands of items of clothing, toys, household items, bags, and jewellery as well as all kinds of weird (occasionally) and wonderful bric-a-brac and accessories that piled in the week before.

From rags (gratefully accepted as we can get a donation for recycling them) to potential riches, witness Hayley in the designer sunglasses alongside other potentially lucrative branded clothing, shoes, handbags and eye-catching curios which will be sorted for the hospice ebay account. Hayley Sunglasses

It’s only the second week of operation but the HDC is in full swing. Everything that has been donated in the previous week has now been safely quarantined (has to be for at least 72 hours).

As the centre is only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 10am and 3pm for donations, all of the previous week’s goodies are now being furiously sorted for re-distribution to the charity shops.

There’s 6,000 square feet of space with the floors clearly marked off ready for the influx of new donors who have booked a slot to drop off their goods at the rear of the donation centre!

At five minutes to ten the first car arrives with a boot (and back seat) full of boxes and bin bags ready to stack onto the loading bay at the rear of the store.

Our supporters have followed the instructions at www.wirralhospice.org/shopping to book a slot and then received an email with a map explaining how to get to the back of the store at their chosen time.

l-r Hayley and Jamie LeighPaddy (Patrick Smith, the hospice’s Retail Development Manager, thumbs up in the pic at the top of this story) is ready, alongside a further two fundraising staff (today it’s Hayley and Jamie-Leigh, pictured below, although a number of others have helped the week before and are ready to step in for the foreseeable future), to greet the hospice supporters, direct them to safely lay down their pre-loved items and then, if they’re eligible, advise them on how to sign-up to Gift Aid to allow the hospice to claim a further 25% on their donated items.

Now, the the safe movement and storage begins and, let me tell you, it’s a virtual marathon!

A steady stream of donors start to unload and, after labelling the bags and boxes which are gift-aided, the team start to make the journey, laden with bags, into the space inside and then back outside to receive/carry more and more goods.

By 11am the team have already clocked up over 4,000 steps each and their biceps and quadriceps are burning. A great workout, just another 4 or 5 hours to go!

Kerry SortingMeanwhile, Kerry  (in green here), Sue (in hospice blue below) and Helen (too shy for photo), who normally volunteer at our New Brighton shop, are in the ‘space beyond storage’, opening bin bags and boxes, at socially distanced tables, while organizing everything ready for transport to our shops at Moreton, Liscard, Birkenhead and New Brighton which have recently re-opened.Sue Sorting

In time our other charity shops, at Claughton, Heswall and West Kirby, will also open and the stock that is now flooding into the Hoylake Donation Centre will help to fill up their rails, shelves and displays.​​​​​​​

Having to close the shops these past several months due to the coronavirus has inevitably hit revenues hard. All of the donations and the hard work of staff and volunteers gives us all the greatest belief that we will, as soon as allowed, rebuild the charity shops back to making their massive financial contribution to the specialist care and support services for which the hospice is held in such high regard.

Quite Rightly!

There is now a limited service for people wanting to donate larger items, sofas, three-piece suites, beds, wardrobes and other furniture items. Time and space is currently at a premium for this and potential donors are being asked to send photos, with fire labels where appropriate, to fundraising@wirralhospice.org to join the waiting list for pick up.

There are also opportunities for people who live in or close to Hoylake, and who might like to volunteer to help with sorting goods, to join the effort. Any people who may have some time to spare, can use the same email address to register their interest. 

Spotlight On: Niamh McEvoy, a young volunteer in our Moreton Shop building her passport to a future career #wirralhospice #charityshops #volunteering #caring #wirral #hospicehero #lifestory

Earlier in the year we brought you a story about the great Ann Dermody who has volunteered in our charity shops for over 22 years. It served to show how Ann, alongside an army of over 120 volunteers in our six shops, helps to keep things ticking over to raise those all-important funds for the compassionate care and specialist support services of Wirral Hospice St John’s.

Niamh 1Now we’ve gone to the other end of the scale and spoken with Niamh McEvoy,  just 21 years of age, who talks about how much she enjoys volunteering at our Moreton shop and the special reasons for doing so.

When you meet Niamh you’ll be struck by how gently she speaks. She smiles the whole time and you feel like you’d be well served if you came to ask a question about the merchandise at Moreton, or when you were ready to buy an item.

Our Moreton shop is one of the biggest in our portfolio (we also have shops in Heswall. West Kirby, Liscard, New Brighton and Claughton) so there are plenty of pre-loved items to stir people’s interest. From full 3-piece suites, dining room sets, sideboards and furniture, through men’s, women’s, junior and baby clothing, bric-a-brac, books, toys and much more.

Sorting and displaying stock is a job in itself which Niamh helps with. She also meets customers and operates the till. She’s learning plenty of transferrable skills for her future.Niamh 2 (2)

Niamh tells me about her connection to Wirral Hospice St John’s. Her stepdad, John, who, alongside Niamh’s mum, Lyn, brought Niamh up from very young, attended our Wellbeing Centre in 2016 after his COPD had become particularly troublesome.

Like quite a few other patients, John was a little apprehensive at first on being referred to the hospice, but soon, given strategies for controlling his breathing and getting involved in other therapies and activities looked forward to his visits one day a week.

Niamh remembers how John would help another patient, a lady who was also losing her sight, by reading to her. The sense of community, the many laughs and still knowing he was making a significant contribution was important to him. John died in 2017 and Niamh knew straightaway that she wanted to give something back to the hospice.

Being naturally shy, Niamh would have found it a bit difficult at that time to make the first move to volunteering (not nowadays however, volunteering has really boosted  her confidence) so it was a happy coincidence that John’s nephew, Stephen (pictured here with Niamh), also volunteers at our Moreton shop and helped Niamh to settle in.

Niamh 3 (2)(Stephen’s own Dad, Ronnie, and his brother Robert had also been helped through life-limiting illnesses by Wirral Hospice St John’s and, on retirement four years ago from Cadbury’s at Moreton – the old Burton’s Biscuits – he also decided he wanted to volunteer to give back to the hospice).

In school, Niamh studied at The Kingsway Academy and gained A Levels in Chemistry, Biology, Physics which led her, naturally, to doing a foundation degree in, Drama! What? Well, she wanted to do something different to improve her confidence.

Having secured her foundation degree she is in her second year of a gateway course at the school of Biomedical Science at Liverpool John Moores University. This may lead to forensics or maybe even a future in healthcare.

She’s close to her Mum, Lyn, who works for Wirral Borough Council taking children, with autism and other social communications, to school. The ‘caring’ runs deep in Niamh’s family!

At our Moreton shop she’s a popular volunteer. She loves her volunteering colleagues Fran, Barbara and, of course, Stephen. Ricky (2)She also mentions Ricky, the shop manager (pictured here holding a hospice Summer Memories daisy), as someone she’s always learning from,

“He’s very focused, gets the job done and has been really nice and helpful to me. He leads by example and when I tell him what I’d like to do he’s always encouraging with a heartfelt, ‘Go For It, Niamh!’

niamh and jordan

Niamh and boyfriend Jordan (with Niamh here), often seen with her at other hospice events, have been going out together for a year now. They enjoy lots of things but especially nice walks and have recently started running together.

“We’re thinking of doing a charity run, with sponsorship, for the hospice in 2020.”

I think I can hear Ricky in the background, “Go for it, Niamh!”

Yes please Niamh, go for it! The hospice says a sincere Thank You for all that you do.

Author: Billy Howard

The wonderful world of #Fundraising #Volunteers #Hospiceheroes

wirral_hospice_gift_shop_elvesFundraising volunteers make up a major part of the fundraising team and without volunteer support in the gift shop, the Fundraising Office, our six charity shops and out at fundraising events the Hospice would struggle to raise the funds needed to provide the very important care that it gives to the Wirral community.

Our Hospice gift shop is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm from September to January and is staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers who get the first glimpses of new stock, label them up and put them out for customers to see and, hopefully, buy. It is exciting every time new stock comes in and handbags and DSC_0211shoes always cause a bit of a stir within the office. This week, two of our shop volunteers, Linda and Barb, were labelling up some gorgeous new jewellery that had just arrived and they shared why they loved volunteering at the shop.  ‘I like being part of the fundraising team and giving something back’ says Linda, who looks forward to seeing customers she sees every year who buy their Christmas cards and gifts from our shop, Linda says ‘it’s really nice to get to know people and see them again and again’. Barb’s personal experience with the hospice bereavement group is part of why she volunteers ‘It was hard going to the group that first time, but I made some amazing friends and I’m glad I went’ Barb explained that she volunteers so that services like the bereavement group can continue.

DSCF5050The Fundraising Office has a volunteer on reception every day of the week, and each day in the office is different, along with answering calls on the reception desk, opening the post and doing admin duties, our office volunteers find themselves doing all manner of jobs to help the fundraising team each and every day. Sometimes it’s modelling the latest ebay item (we recently saw our Friday morning volunteer Pat out in the sunshine in a designer waterproof cape soon to appear on ebay– see picture), or wrapping the constant stream of raffle prizes for our events throughout the year, often our volunteers are answering the phone while labelling up the next weekend’s ever popular tombola. Karen, our Friday afternoon volunteer remembers coming in on a hot summer’s day wearing a Christmas jumper for a photograph for reopening of the Gift Shop (see above), Karen says ‘it was hot, but very funny and definitely worth it!’

Away from theJoanne Ashworth Fundraising Office we have six charity shops across Wirral; Claughton, Heswall, Liscard, Moreton, New Brighton and West Kirby. Each of these shops need on average twenty five volunteers per week to operate fully. This army of volunteers receive donations, organise and arrange stock, clean, tidy and decorate the shops along with greeting and selling to customers. Volunteers in these shops love to see what treasures have been donated, some of the largest being a 1980s trailer tent and a 1960s pram.  Sometimes we get some very unusual donations which cause a bit of a buzz among the retail team; often these rare beauties are taken back to the fundraising office to be listed on our ebay shop.

Along 03with volunteers who come into the Hospice and shops regularly we also have volunteers who come to our fundraising events and stalls to assist with tombolas, raffles, selling goods & refreshments etc.  Each event is different and there are many funny stories of wild British weather, or crazy fashion shows and fancy gala dinners. Behind many events there is a great deal of cake, and where we have refreshment stalls we have cakes lovingly baked for the Hospice by our baking volunteers who are called upon before an event to see if they are free to get cooking.  These donated cakes not only keep our refreshment stalls well stocked but provide great variety to each event, as there is always a different flavour available from the classic Victoria sponge to marmalade and butterscotch.

Our wonderful volunteers make the Hospice what it is today, whether they are in fundraising raising money, helping with the running of the hospice, serving refreshments in the Hub Café or supporting patients & their families, without their dedication and support the Hospice would struggle to exist.  We always need more volunteers and are looking for;

  • Fundraising Office Reception volunteer on Wednesday afternoons 1-4
  • Charity shop volunteers
  • Ebay volunteers

If you would like to join the fundraising team please call 0151 343 0778 or email jacintaw@wirralhospice.org and we will be able to provide you with more information on what opportunities are available.

Meet our models #5: Maxine Macpherson #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_maxine_elle_macphersonFacilities Administrator, Maxine Ashton, will be strutting her stuff along with all our other models at our fashion show with a twist on tonight.  This afternoon she took the time to answer the questions put to some of our other Hospice Supermodels earlier this week.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

Ok, small spoiler here, but I’m looking forward to my Halloween outfit, my son was born on Halloween and we take Halloween very seriously at Ashton HQ.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

Unfortunately I haven’t seen anything yet, but I have heard about some of the themes and outfits on show and I am very intrigued!

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

Hang on I didn’t realise this was a competition – eep!

What are you most nervous about?

Falling over in my heels – it’s a worry that’s keeping me up at night.

How are you preparing for the night?

I’ve been timing myself getting dressed – got to prepare for those quick changes between outfits.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

I would love something a bit different, you know.. Slipknot or Metallica, something like that would be good.

What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Yes I know, its very divalike, but if everything could be left hand friendly that would be perfect.

Have you perfected your autograph yet, you are going to need it?

No, not yet – I’ll get practising soon!

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Elle Macpherson?

Er… I’m very flattered, but there’s not much!


 If you want to see Maxine and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

Meet our models #4: Teresa Moss #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_teresa_kate_mossOur fourth Hospice Supermodel to share her thoughts about Friday’s fashion show is Teresa Nightingale – Head of Fundraising who can’t wait to get out there onto the catwalk.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

I’m really looking forward to falling over in front of all those people… it’s going to be amazing… really.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

No idea, the descriptions I have heard have already terrified me

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

If I’m honest, all of them, they are all at least 3 ½ feet taller than me.

What are you most nervous about?

I’m really nervous about not walking in time to the music, it will be so cringy if I am out of sync.

How are you preparing for the night?

I will be staying up until 3am the night before, just like all real supermodels do.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

I don’t know about what I hope they’ll play – it just better not be ‘Nelly the Elephant’!

What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Nando’s and some hunky male models – how else am I supposed to get ready?

Have you perfected your autograph yet? You are going to need it!

Of course I have, can’t be signing peoples t-shirts, autograph books etc. with a rubbish signature!

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Kate Moss?

I taught her all I know and that’s all I’m saying on the matter.


If you want to see Teresa and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

 

 

 

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