2021 – the year Pendleside overcame the ravages of Covid- 19 to go from strength to strength

The last 12 months has been the year that Pendleside fought back to provide as normal a service as possible despite the ravages that Covid-19 still had on its traditional revenue streams.

Importantly, the immediate future of the hospice was clearly mapped out as the trustees and management team brought in a new era centred around the ‘Five Pillars Of Pendleside’ –Proud To Be Pendleside; Community Collaboration; Care Delivery; Governance; and Sustainability.

The four-year strategy was announced after the hospice had successfully worked through the most challenging period in its 33-year history as it survived the full thrust of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


The goals of the Five Pillars are:

Proud To Be Pendleside: That people identify Pendleside as a good place to work and volunteer and is the health care organisation of choice to work and volunteer.

Community Collaboration: To build a compassionate community involving, influencing and working in partnership with all stakeholders to enhance palliative and end-of-life care.

Care Delivery: To reach out to as many people as possible who need its care.

Governance: The hospice meets its regulatory requirements and manages risk effectively.

Sustainability: The services are sustainable in the changing external environment.

Pendleside again cared for more than 1,200 service users in 2021.

Inpatients and Hospice At Home cared for more patients than ever before; care was also provided in the health, wellbeing and rehabilitation unit; while family support including carer and bereavement counselling; spiritual care; complementary therapy; and psychological support services also increased in numbers.

All of the services have been supported by Pendleside’s catering and domestic, maintenance, finance and administration; fundraising; and retail teams. Day services – under the new title of Health, Wellbeing and Rehabilitation – returned to fill the corridors with patient camaraderie and smiles as daily sessions, split between morning and afternoon, served the needs of a host of medical conditions.

To accommodate these sessions the inpatients’ unit returned to 10 bedrooms after the space in which eight emergency rooms were erected in the day services area at the height of Covid-19 in 2020, to ease the pressure on NHS beds, were returned to their original use.

The nine retail shops and furniture store reopened and were complemented by the launch of Pendleside’s online store which is masterminded by internet retail expert David Austin who also oversees the new donation and distribution centre adjacent to the main hospice building.

Gareth Sharples, the widower of Lindsay Sharples, 43, who raised thousands of pounds from her hospice bed before she passed away, and long-standing stalwart of the hospice Keith Jackson both joined Pendleside’s elite band of ambassadors. 

The other ambassadors, BBC Radio 1 DJ and star of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Jordan North; Burnley FC striker Jay Rodriguez; singer-entertainer Josh Hindle; and radio broadcaster Albia Begum all made huge contributions during the last year.

While Covid wreaked havoc it also provided some new positive ways of thinking. The meals on wheels service, led by catering and domestic services manager Mark Scott, launched during the pandemic, has gone from strength to strength thanks to a growing band of volunteer drivers who work on rota to deliver daily meals, seven days a week, to around 70  people each day.

Also, the success of the virtual bereavement counselling launched during the pandemic has been continued to complement the face-to-face counselling undertaken by family support leader Simon Frauts and his team.And during the coronavirus Pendleside’s Hospice at Home service became the hub for coordination of night sits in patients’ own homes, coordinating its own hospice at home, Marie Curie and local domiciliary care services to ensure continuity of care for all requiring overnight support.

During 2021, three new members were appointed to the Pendleside board of trustees, which now numbers 12, adding both health care and business experience to the hospice. 

They were palliative care advance nurse practitioner and senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire Gillian Oakley; operations director at the Community and Business Partners arm of Boost Business Lancashire Jaydee Davis; and founder and director at Create IT Recruitment Mike Steel.

Some super­fun­dra­isers have also shone during 2021 including  Carl Hodgson who raised around £30,000 conquering Pendle Hill 180 times on the build up to his 50th birthday.

Another was a heartbroken dad Peter Gibbings, 69, of Higherford, who while in remission from leukaemia lost both of his daughters aged in their 40s to two unexpected illnesses. Peter took part in a free fall sky dive in aid of Pendleside. 

And towards the end of the year retired civil servant Steve Neary, of Read, carried out charity challenges every day for 67 days leading up to his 67th birthday on December 18. Steve also organised a bumper raffle with 67 prizes in his bid to raise at least £6,767 for Pendleside.

Major fundraising events that took place to the enjoyment of all who took part were the Pendle Pub Walk, Colour Dash, Skydive, Yorkshire Three Peaks, Firewalk, Light Up A Life, as well as the Megaraisathon which was organised by head of corporate fundraising Christina Cope.

Local businesses also massively supported Pendleside getting behind the Megaraisathon, sponsored by Glendinning Insurance, which raised over £35,000 towards patient care.

Christina, who had worked tirelessly at the hospice for almost 20 years, left the hospice shortly afterwards and immediately signed up as a volunteer. During the snowstorm in November she was out delivering meals on wheels to people who would have struggled to eat but for her efforts.

Because of Covid-19 the army of Pendleside volunteers was decimated during the lockdowns and by other restrictions but now under Lisa Clarke, who has become the hospice’s dedicated volunteer co-ordinator, the number is growing back to the 600 it boasted two years ago.

 Looking to 2022 Pendleside chief executive Helen McVey said: “We recognise that the impact of the pandemic is not over yet and with new variants continually changing the situation we anticipate that there will be many challenges ahead. 

“However, with our Five Pillars Of Pendleside we have a clear vision over the next four years and we will continue to plan and adapt for the future as we develop our services to meet the needs of the Burnley and Pendle communities who have supported us like never before to keep our services running during these critical times.”