Telephone: 01229 580305


Connect with us Twitter Facebook Youtube Mail

About us

CEO Blog

Legacies - a different way to help the hospice

Georgia Carr - Friday, July 10, 2015

This month I’d like to talk about Legacies, a different way to help the hospice.

Did you know that:
•Legacies provide a huge source of income for charitable organisations – around 2 billion pounds a year from around 35,000 people.
•Currently around 29.5 million people in the UK don’t have a will.
•More than 10% of people without a will believe wrongly that their estate will automatically go to the right people once they die
•35% of those aged over 55 don’t have a will in place.

Our aim locally is to highlight the importance of making a will because of how much smoother this can make the difficult period after someone dies. In most circumstances wills focus on the family and friends left behind, and quite rightly too. However in some situations people also choose to leave gifts elsewhere.

Gifts in wills are of vital importance to St Marys and over the last few years have funded around 1 in 5 of all our patient care. This kind of gift leaves a legacy of hope for those who need hospice care in the coming days, months and years.

To talk to anyone about Legacies please contact for further information or ring 01229 580305.

To find out more please visit our Gifts In Wills page

Hospice Volunteering

Georgia Carr - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Hospice Volunteering-looking for a simple way to give something back?

Hospices couldn’t survive without volunteers. I say this every time I speak on behalf of the hospice and I really mean it. Honestly, without volunteers we just couldn’t, wouldn’t, survive.

At St Mary’s Hospice there are around 90 part time members of staff who between them raise over £2 million pounds and support more than 1000 referrals each year. That’s spreading staff very thin. The only way we can do everything is to use the extra help offered to us by our 210 volunteers.

Volunteers help us in every way you can imagine: serving tea in our café and tea room; behind the counter in our shops and warehouse; delivering a hot meal to a patient in a room on our unit; giving a massage; collecting our data; visiting people in their homes; working on reception. The list goes on and on and never stops because we can always think- ‘Could a volunteer get involved in that?’

Why do people volunteer at the hospice? 

One volunteer who joined us after retirement says,’ I volunteered because I missed working with people.The hospice is a surprisingly peaceful place to work and has a lovely atmosphere. I get so much out of it. Another says, ‘I love the feel of the Hospice and want to be part of it.’

While feedback following our last volunteer training session was, ‘I feel privileged to be part of the team…exhilarated by a whole new learning curve.’
This feedback is typical of our volunteers who tell us they love being part of our teams and get so much back from being a volunteer. And they make a huge difference for families and patients too.

So what do staff say about volunteers?

‘Our volunteers are warm, friendly and approachable and want nothing more than to help people and make their lives a little more tolerable.’
‘They are always going that extra mile if they feel it will help someone’

‘I have learnt as much from them as I hope they have from me.’

Have that kind of giving in you? Come and join us and be part of our team.

If you are interested in finding out about any of the volunteer opportunities we have available please see the volunteering section of our website or contact us via or call us on 01229 580305.


Deciding right

Georgia Carr - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Joseph is a 92 year old man with heart failure and COPD, walking is difficult but he and his wife Mary still get into town for shopping once a week. Joseph regularly attends the GP surgery but no-one has ever asked what would happen if he or Mary became ill.

Joseph picks up a chest infection he can’t shake. Antibiotics don’t help and Joseph becomes weaker. When he has trouble breathing one night Mary calls an ambulance which rushes him into hospital. Despite the kindness of hospital staff Joseph dies in hospital 2 days later.

Mary feels she’s let Joseph down. She remembers one night, when he was being romantic he told her he wanted to live beside her all of his life. She keeps wondering whether he would have wanted to go to hospital. She was sad he had died away from home.

We plan ahead for so many things in life but often don't consider how and where we would like to be cared for if we become ill and are unable to say for ourselves.

Fred is a 92 year old man living with heart failure and COPD. Although walking is difficult, he and his wife Francis still get into town for shopping once a week. Fred’s GP has gently, over time, asked Fred what he thinks the future holds.

He encourages Fred and Francis to talk about their choices and wishes. It’s not easy but together they decide that they want to be cared for and die at home, if at all possible. They visit the doctor who encourages them to document their wishes and complete some Deciding Right paperwork. Keeping the forms at home means any health/social care professional involved in their future care knows what their wishes are.

One weekend Fred becomes ill. As his chest infection makes him confused he can’t be involved in decisions about his care. Francis shows the emergency doctor Fred’s documents and asks for him to stay at home. After some discussion the doctor arranges extra support. Francis cares for Fred at home, supported by the District Nurse and Hospice at Home who provide a hospice night sitter twice a week so Francis can sleep well.

After two weeks Fred dies peacefully at home with Francis at his side.

Although devastated by the loss of her husband, Francis feels pleased that, with the extra support, she was able to fulfil Fred's wishes.

Planning in advance makes a difference. Your health professional can help you talk through your choices, before an emergency happens- ask your GP about ‘Deciding right’

These are example case studies and do not relate to specific real people

Action Plan & Budget

Georgia Carr - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hello again from St Mary’s Hospice,

Our most important Spring task is writing an ACTION PLAN and BUDGET to deliver our priorities for the next 12 months.For 2015-16 our two clear service priorities are:

PRIORITY ONEUsing our new building for the benefit of our community

Our new building hosts activities for people with long term illness including lung, heart and neurological diseases and cancer. Currently we offer Day Hospice, Positive Living patient education and classes in Pilates, Tai Chi and Tregar. These three styles of education all proven to retain or improve balance and help people stay mobile.

We also offer a local venue for health focused community groups and are delighted that since January we have hosted the weekly Healthy Hearts group.

In February we started working with other organisations to improve care available to people with dementia and those who care for them.

PRIORITY TWO– Delivering care closer to where people live

Our Positive Living patient education courses help people with long term illness manage their symptoms in a way which maximises independence and keeps them out of hospital. Our first community based Positive Living Course ran in Ambleside at the end of 2014 to resounding patient reviews and we now have a timetable to deliver this course in Millom, Coniston and Barrow over the next 12 months.

At the same time our Hospice at Home service has expanded to allow two teams to work in the community every day with the goal of supporting an extra 100 people over the coming 12 months.

We will water and nurture these seeds of change to grow a strong network of support for residents of South Lakes and Furness.If you want to join any sessions mentioned please contact the hospice as below.

Budget for the year

You’ll remember we get only 20% of our money from the local health services.This means the changes above can only continue if we raise funds we need through our shops and cafes, lottery and fundraising events.

If you can support us in any way this year, we’ll be able to meet our goals.

Together we can do it,

Val Stangoe

Chef Executive


St Marys Twitter St Marys Twitter

St Mary's Hospice @stmaryshospice