Widening our virtuous circle
●● ROB Barrow has been reflecting on his first year in office as Chair of Trustees at East Cheshire Hospice.
He said great progress has been made in the year, but the charity is still too focused on Macclesfield, missing opportunities and engagement in the other parts of Cheshire it also serves.
Rob said: “We’ve come a long way and I’ve been humbled and amazed by the generosity of all our supporters, especially our volunteers who are hugely supportive.
“We weren’t as engaged with some of our key supporters as perhaps we ought to have been but we’ve been actively rectifying that and have also appointed some new vice presidents and a new president who is very active in the community that we serve, in LordLieutenant David Briggs MBE KStJ.
“Our vice presidents are by-and-large still in the business community and they’re out and about every day getting out the message. That means we can extend our reach via their networks and we’ve moved a very long way indeed on that score.
“The one surprise I did get was that East Cheshire Hospice seems to be very Macclesfield centric.
“Our geography means that our catchment area stretches south of Congleton, right across the High Peak, way out past Knutsford on the other side and through Poynton and Bramhall.
“But if you look at where our financial support and volunteers come from, it’s very Macclesfield centric.
“One point of view is that’s a great core of support in Macclesfield but the other side of the coin is we’ve got a job of work to do to go out and engage with the periphery and get the understanding out that we need to raise over 80 percent of our income from the communities that we serve.
“We’ve started to get out there and engage with, for example, the Congleton community and let them know we’re their hospice and we need their support.
“They don’t know that right now and we need to build up our visibility, support and income.
“What’s really helpful for us is the Christmas tree collection operation because that helps get our brand out into supermarkets and on the streets.
“We’re also holding annual road shows, an open day and forum, to tell people about the hospice.
“We’ve already been to a school in Congleton where people went along to find out about clinical matters, fundraising and volunteering etc and this is a great way to establish a stronger presence in those areas.
“We’ve also got a single team at the hospice where everyone understands their role and all are in a totally positive frame of mind, all pointing in the same direction.
“What’s been brought home to me is that the charity world is no different to the business world and you’ve got to have a team focused on whatever you’re doing, whether it’s bringing the money in or delivering the services and all supporting each other in a positive way, creating that all important virtuous circle.”
●● Rob Barrow, Chair of Trustees