As I type this today we are 6 months in from my last blog and the parallels are striking. We are still hard at work putting together and securing as many grant awards as possible in an extremely tough environment, we are straight after another amazing event,  this time Starlight Stroll and we are moving forward with our Closer to You strategy. The only real change is I have gone from me not being able to say no to a nurse to not being able to saying no to chocolate! – I have found bribery from the nursing team with chocolate before a bid is proving very effective.

My daughter and her uncle Callum enjoying starlight stroll

On reflection entitling my last blog “why I cannot say no to a nurse” was a mistake for two reasons, the first being that I ended up with emails from the nursing team ( who never miss an opportunity ) saying “as you cannot say no to a nurse could you please fund……” and the second being that as my wife helpfully pointed out “I find it easy enough to say no to her” my suggestion that she should train to be a nurse did not go down too well!

I am pleased to say that despite the challenging economic conditions we are doing well within Trusts and Grants in not only securing funding that will truly benefit the patients at the Hospice but some new funding that has enabled us to reward the hard working staff and volunteers as well.

It is still a joy to come in and work here and the team within St Wilfrid’s is the best I have worked with. In what can be a very stressful role at times it is never short of laughter and it is a great reward when a project comes together as the benefits to the patients here are clear to see.

Trust Funding at work

One of the nicer successes we have had in the last 6 months is within our Inpatient Unit where we have had funding for specialist equipment including a Possum system which will allow patients with low mobility to operate the lights/TV in the room through a series of pillow switches. We have also made improvements to the Orchard Lounge which now has a new TV for patients and their families to use as well as Netflix. 

Outside of the hospice grounds, Trust funding is benefiting patients within the community, either directly within patients homes through the support given through the community nursing team or via upgrading existing spaces such as the creation of a counselling room in Heathfield.

The new Heathfield counselling rooms, part of the suite of facilities paid for by grants

Trust fundraiser's coming together

Trust and grant fundraising can at times be a very isolated role with a great deal of solo working. It is with this in mind that I created a Sussex Trust and Grant fundraising group where charities of any size can meet together to discuss issues/concerns and opportunities in an informal manner. We had our second meeting in November at the amazing charity Raystede and were treated to not only a very informative meeting with plenty of ideas floating around but in addition got to meet lots of animals.

Raystede have recently secured trust funding for a cat enrichment house, a series of rooms equipped with TV, kitchen, sofa etc so that cats/kittens can familiarise themselves with how to live in a house before being re-homed, here is Raystede's trust manager Mark Phillips showing us around

Staff night out 

In addition, we have been very fortunate to receive funding allowing us to put on a small number of comedy nights to allow staff and volunteers at the Hospice to enable them to go to see shows for free. We had the first one in October which was a real success headlined by the amazing Paul Zenon -as you can see from the picture our Facilities Manager Andrew is looking for a new career as a magician's assistant.

Mark a better trust fundraiser than photographer

These nights are important to me as everyone here whether within the Hospice or out in the Community work really hard to give the best possible care to our patients and families and it is nice for myself on a personal level to do something very small to reflect this dedication which never fails to amaze me.

And so onto the title, it is always nice to be thanked and was delighted to have been given chocolate, beer and a thank you on a post it note for some funding we have received recently. It was also given to me in the run up to the comedy night which was a clever way of staying off the front row- and it worked! ………. That was until I noticed after the last show that two other people on the bid had been given the same gifts alongside a card with full thank you message in it- and it's fair to say they have been very smug about it ever since! 

Joking aside I was touched to have received anything and very grateful for it, it is always a pleasure to be able to help and the new TV that has been funded looks great in the Orchard Lounge.

The next 6 months will I am sure bring many challenges not only within fundraising but also self inflicted as well, tonight I will be on a run as part of my preparation for the Brighton Marathon which I will be taking part in alongside Beth (events fundraiser) ,foolishly my competitive nature has got the better of me and what started off as a friendly rivalry has got serious- despite my two dodgy knees!

Thinking about it I better save any thank you chocolate until I cross the finish line in April!