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Why it's cool to support St Ann's Hospice

St Ann's Hospice provides care for people in the Manchester area with life threatening illnesses, mainly cancer. Every year, over 3000 people are treated at their facilities in Cheadle, Wythenshawe and Little Hulton. All services are provided free of charge, and the aim is to improve the quality of life for patients, their families and carers.

St Ann's Hospice organises many glittering fundraising events through the year, including fashion shows, concerts, celebrity dinners and other social occasions. A hospice seems worlds away from the youthful and glamorous world of fashion and partying. It's something most people - especially younger ones - tend to put to the back of their minds.

But people - even youthful, glamorous ones - do get seriously ill and St Ann's Hospice is there to provide support when it's required. In practical terms it's just a service like any other, like childcare, having your hair done or your car repaired.

But if only most car repair workshops were as caring and professional as St Ann's Hospice! I've visited several times now to photograph patients and staff.

At each of the sites, you can't fail to notice that the staff are both highly professional and very cheerful. The facilities are excellent and there is a relaxed and friendly ethos.

The buildings are bright, airy, well-maintained and modern, worlds away from the traditional image of a hospice as a stern Victorian institution.

Some of the patients are obviously very poorly, while others appear to be well on the way to recovery. I met patients' families with visiting children, for whom there are excellent play rooms at the Cheadle and Little Hulton sites.

But these facilities, and the care provided by the staff who work in them, don't come cheap. St Ann's Hospice receives a proportion of its income from the local Primary Care Trust. The rest it has to find itself.

Every day, through voluntary contributions, St Ann's Hospice has to find 16000 (23,550 euros, 28,370 US dollars or 3.19 million yen!) . The annual running costs amount to 8.75 million pounds (12.87m euros, 15.5m dollars, or 1,75 billion yen!)

St Ann's raises funds in a variety of ways, some very innovative. Events are held throughout the year which bring in money through ticket sales, raffles, sale of items and more. It runs six charity shops in the local area and there's an online shop too. The Hospice choir performs fundraising concerts in the summer and at Christmas. (I've seen, heard and photographed them, they're very good!).

Individuals can donate clothes, money or their time. The patron scheme provides a way for people to give a fixed amount per year, and receive benefits in return.

Many distinguished and prestigious local businesses and organisations support St Ann's Hospice.

At St Ann's Hospice they are transparent in the way they run the organisation and handle donations. Currently over 4/5ths of money donated goes directly to patient care.

So why is it cool to support St Ann's Hospice? Well, one reason is that nowadays, supporting good causes is seen as good PR and can enhance your business and professional profile. Look at the publicity surrounding the 'Live 8' and 'Drop the Debt' campaigns. Giving has always been a good thing to do, but only recently has it become fashionable.

And talking of fashion, I've had the privilege of photographing one of the most glittering social events of the year in Manchester, the Ladies Fashion Lunch at the Palace Hotel, with a dazzlingly choreographed fashion show provided by sponsors Emma Somerset. And true to St Ann's ethos, the professional models were joined on the catwalk by women who, with the help of the Hospice, have overcome serious illness. The compere was Key 103 morning show co-presenter Chelsea Norris, who must have one of the coolest jobs in Manchester.

I believe that in personal or business affairs, if you use some of your resources to help others, you'll get it back in other ways. That's something I've learnt on my various trips, particularly to the Orient. What goes around comes around.

To find out more about the excellent work carried out by St Ann's Hospice and for details on how you can join a a select and growing group of supporters, visit the St Ann's Hospice website:

www.sah.org.uk
.

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2005-09-25

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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