The meeting opened with the advise of six apologies. Mention was made of Members’ Morning on Tuesday November 3rd when at least four Speakers would be welcomed to talk for 10/15 minutes on a topic of their choice. Anyone wishing to participate should advise Programme Secretary John Taylor. Kitchen support was urgently required for next week with a number of absences from the Catering Team…again advise John Taylor if able to help. Two slots on the “Vote of Thanks” rota for the 17th and 24th November require filling.

The topic for today’s talk was “St. Michael’s Hospice” and was presented jointly by Mr Keith Peters and Mr Richard Cyster respectively. The talk would hopefully improve member’s knowledge of the Hospice in terms of the services offered, funding and why it does what it does. St. Michael’s Hospice is an important and large part of the local community and is set up as an independent local charity. It has been operating for over 30 years and offers high quality end of life care and services provided free at point of need. It is committed to providing care and last days of life with respect and dignity. Services are available to anyone with terminal illnesses and 2,000 people over the age of eighteen are supported each year. Hospice support is also provided in homes or a place of choice such as Care Homes or Hospitals and care is tailored individually.

The Hospice based services include ten rooms, 24 hour/ 365 day care, an extensive and personalised menu with visitors being welcomed at any time of day. A planned new development in the current grounds at Hornbeam Park will provide increased in care facilities. Other aspects of the Hospice Operation include Day Therapy, St. Michael’s Macmillan Nurse’s and bringing support closer to home. St. Michael’s in Starbeck, the former Library opened in June 2014 and is a community base for Hospice services including the Bereavement and Counselling Service (Just B). Part of the St. Michael ethos is to help people live and die well!!

There is an increasing need for their services with an ageing population and a cost of £5 million each year with Government funding at 21%.There is a heavy reliance on volunteers currently six to each paid member of staff and funding is an ongoing issue being sourced from Gifts in Wills, eight Retail Shops, Trusts and Corporate Support and a variety of fund-raisers including the Midnight Walk and Light Up a Life. A salutary statistic is that one in three people are impacted by the Hospice’s work. The talk stirred interest which led to a number of questions to the Speaker’s  at the end. A collection amongst members raised £68-50 supplemented by a Forum payment of £50 totalling £118–50 to St. Michael Hospice funds.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Gordon Richardson on behalf of the 37 attendees.


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