A much-loved local charity has opened the doors to its brand new shop in Bakewell.

Staff and volunteers from Helen’s Trust, in partnership with Blythe House Hospicecare, cut the ribbon at the new retail outlet on Matlock Street today [Monday 12th April].

The shop stocks a wide range of items including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing; homeware; books and CDs.

Money raised in store will go towards providing free palliative and end of life hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.

Covid-safe celebrations were well underway as excited volunteers and local customers showed their support, on the day that non-essential retail outlets could re-open following easing of England’s lockdown restrictions.

The shop is the newest addition to Blythe House’s other retail outlets, in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

The popular high street stores are responsible for bringing in over a quarter of the money needed for the charity to provide free care and services to local patients and families.

Tim Mourne, chairman, and Dr Louise Jordan, deputy chair, of the charity’s board of trustees cut the ribbon to officially open the shop this morning.

Dr Jordan, who is a GP at Baslow Health Centre, said: ‘As a founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, I am delighted to see the charity continue to grow from strength to strength. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary, and we’re supporting more people across our local communities than ever before. The new shop will help us to continue achieving and smashing our goals in the future; supporting hundreds of local patients who wish to stay in the comfort of their own home at the end of their lives.’

Tim added: ‘I am so pleased to officially open the new Helen’s Trust shop alongside Dr Jordan. Since the partnership between Blythe House and Helen’s Trust began last year, we have doubled our Hospice at Home clinical output in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The shop opening is the latest achievement of our successful charity merger, and we know that our loyal, local supporters will be on hand to back it, by volunteering, donating or shopping here, to support local hospice care now and in the future.’

Sincere thanks go to Bloomers of Bakewell for donating individually wrapped and Covid-safe treats for the special occasion.

Find out more about Blythe House and Helen’s Trust shops including opening times.

Learn more about volunteering at the new Bakewell shop, or any of Blythe House’s other High Peak stores.

We are celebrating the fifth anniversary of a hugely successful service that ensures local patients can die in the comfort of their own home, if that is their wish.

Staff and volunteers at the launch party in 2016

Since its inception in 2016, Blythe House Hospicecare’s Hospice at Home service has supported over 880 patients, and provided more than 57,200 hours of palliative and end of life care. The service’s official anniversary is Sunday 11th April 2021.

Hospice at Home provides care to patients who are within their last 12 months of life, across the High Peak and Hope Valley. Since its partnership with Helen’s Trust began in September 2020, support now extends to cover the Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.

During the past year alone, the 24/7 service has enabled over 190 local patients to stay safe at home, when they might otherwise have been admitted to hospital, where no visitors have been allowed.

Helping to alleviate this pressure on NHS services during the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020, Hospice at Home healthcare assistants have provided over 17,000 hours of care, to patients across 20 local towns and villages.

The service receives referrals for a variety of reasons, which include ensuring a patient can return home from hospital safely; so that a family member or carer can get some much-needed rest; and so patients are able to die in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by their loved ones.

Janet Dunphy, Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust CEO, said: ‘We are immensely proud of our Hospice at Home service and everything that it has achieved in its short but staggering lifetime so far. Founded thanks to a generous donation left in the will of a local person, the service has grown and evolved over the past five years, and is seen as an essential provider of the highest quality end of life care by our funders, fellow providers and community professionals.

‘The past year during Covid-19 especially, we have seen the importance of people wishing to stay safe at home, instead of being admitted to hospitals or other in-patient units where no family or visitors have been permitted. Hospice at Home has enabled so many local patients to stay at home, with their loved ones beside them.

‘We are grateful to the hundreds of local families who’ve allowed us into their homes to provide compassionate care to patients who wish to die with dignity in their own, comfortable surroundings. We are looking forward to the next five years and beyond, to continue the Hospice at Home legacy.’

Find out more about the service and make a referral.

We are thanking our volunteers and donors for their unwavering support during the past year.

Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust is reflecting on an unprecedented year, as this week sees the first anniversary of the UK’s initial Covid-19 lockdown.

During the past 12 months, the hospice’s fundraising events have been cancelled, and four much-loved shops in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge have been closed for the majority of the time. This has reflected hugely in the charity’s capacity to raise vital funds for local care. The hospice is more than £190,000 under the budget it would have expected to receive had, its four shops been open as normal between April 2020 and now – that’s over 55% down on expected income.

Despite this, staff and volunteers have never stopped being there for the local community. The Hospice at Home service has enabled over 190 local patients to stay safe at home, when they might otherwise have been admitted to hospital, where no visitors have been allowed. Helping to alleviate pressure on NHS services, hospice healthcare assistants have provided over 17,000 hours of care since March 2020, to patients across 19 local towns and villages.

Blythe House’s Community Hub has continued to provide specialist palliative care and support to patients and carers. As well as dealing with patient’s understandable concerns about the pandemic, the team has answered difficult questions around changes or cancellations to treatment plans, for people who are living with, or dying from, life-limiting illnesses such as cancer.

Alongside clinical staff, the hospice’s team of 42 community volunteers has been available seven-days-a-week to support over 200 patients and local people who’re elderly, vulnerable or isolated, with tasks including shopping, medication deliveries, pet walking and socially-distanced garden visits. Volunteers have donated over 2,500 hours of their time to provide more than 3,400 companion phone calls and 1,140 Covid-safe visits.

Hospice counsellors have continued to provide Covid-secure meetings for adults, and play therapy for children, who’re experiencing bereavement throughout the pandemic.

Janet Dunphy, hospice CEO, said: ‘We simply could not have managed to continue providing our high-class services and care if it wasn’t for the support of our local communities. Our amazing volunteers have donated so many thousands of hours of their time to give something back. Supporters have thought up unique and special ways to raise vital funds for hospice care, during what has been a stormy year for everyone. We are so incredibly grateful for everyone’s support and I mean it when I say that Blythe House and Helen’s Trust would not be here without you – thank you sincerely.

‘We know that healthcare will have to be delivered differently in some areas due to the effects of Covid; but we are more than ready to face those challenges. We will be here, as we always have been, to support those people in our community who are bereaved, who are affected by life-limiting illness and those who are suffering due to long Covid.

‘We have a newly-revamped, modernised, Covid-safe building, with a multi-disciplinary team to help as many people as possible. Our Hospice at Home service continues to evolve as more and more people choose to stay at home. We are committed to supporting hospital discharges and preventing in-patient unit admissions. We’re here to help, and here to stay.’

The hospice receives just 21% of its funding from the government, and must raise the remaining costs via fundraising events, voluntary donations and its charity shops.

Local people can support palliative and end of life care in their community by setting up a regular monthly donation of just £5. Over the course of a year, this money would help to fund compassionate healthcare assistants to provide the highest quality end of life care to a local patient in the comfort of their own home – that equals just 16 pence per day!

Find out more about setting up a direct debit to support Blythe House and Helen’s Trust

Our sincere thanks go to the following people who’s time and support meant that the film did not cost the charity anything to produce:

The film was produced in-line with government regulations and following a strict COVID-19 safety policy.

 

We are taking an opportunity to commemorate the legacy of Ruth Brown, Hospice at Home senior manager, as she gets set to retire at the end of the month.

Here, in her own words, Ruth explains more about her esteemed career: ‘It all started when two aunts died leaving behind young children, and my father was killed in an accident at work before I was 12 years old, my wonderful mother became both parents. I had to dig deep, growing up very quickly and helping to support my brother, who was five years my junior. I left school without qualifications despite a grammar school scholarship; turning my back on education as it had mattered so much to both my parents.

‘On leaving school, I went on to have a number of jobs, always drawn to a caring role. I was married at 17 and as well as continued work in social care, my husband and I fostered 27 children. I worked at the Devonshire Hospital in Buxton as a nursing auxiliary, and a physio assistant during the late 70s. During this period, I studied at the local college in the evenings achieving a number of GCSEs and an A Level. A move to our farm in 1981 presented us with a brand-new way of life including the arrival of our son. This was followed two years later by the arrival of our daughter. Milking, calving, lambing and continued work with local social care alongside raising our family, kept me busy.

‘When the children were both at school, I became a nursing auxiliary and bath nurse at Baslow Surgery and I was there for 14 years. My role developed to include care of patients with dementia, and I organised bi-annual tea dances in the hope of stimulating memories through music. These were extremely successful and were on calendars well in advance. I began an art group for disabled called Artability, which again achieved great success, indeed I have pictures that hang in my home that were painted for me by my wonderful artists.

‘In 2000, I was encouraged to apply for nurse training by the GPs I worked with at Baslow Surgery. All those qualifications supported this opportunity and at 47 I went to Sheffield University. I graduated in 2004 as an adult nurse just as I celebrated my 50th Birthday. I was drawn to work at Weston Park Hospital due to my interest in palliative and end of life care, and was successful in achieving a rotational post.

‘I was there for a couple of years but missed the community aspect to my role, and applied to do a district nursing degree. I achieved my BA hons in specialist community nursing in 2007 from Sheffield Hallam University, having worked out in New Zealand on a community placement. I returned to Baslow Surgery as district nurse and in the latter years became community matron.

‘We can achieve academically at any age and I am proof that it is never too late. I have always had a clear plan of what I want to achieve next and wanted to end my career in management, with a focus on good end of life care. Sadly, death has never been far away and more of my close family died far too soon, including my lovely mum in 2001 and my husband in 2010. This consolidated my view of what constitutes a good death and made me focus on its importance for both patients and their loved ones.

‘The opportunity to join Blythe House Hospicecare as Hospice at Home manager and to help develop a service for patients in the last year of life was my dream and I believe was always meant to be. It bought together all my experience and skills, and gave me the opportunity to develop a fantastic team all passionate about good end of life care. I am eternally grateful to Janet (CEO) and the board of trustees for the opportunity, resulting in the development of a first-class service so desperately needed. The service has grown and evolved and is now seen as an essential provider of highest quality end of life care by the CCG and fellow providers and community professionals. Most of all, to the many patients and families who have received our valuable care.

‘I thank all who were pivotal to our success; Sam and Kathy who were alongside me from the beginning, the team of healthcare assistants who are pivotal in delivering this high-quality service and have grown to a 40-strong team; Jude who is now manager, and to Jill who is stepping into my role.

‘I look forward to supporting Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust in my retirement and volunteering my services and expertise in any way seen as beneficial.’

Find out more about Hospice at Home.

People across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales are invited to ‘get their glow on’ to support local hospice care.

Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust are hosting their second annual Glow Twilight Walk on Saturday 15th May – and this time, it’s virtual!

People can sign up to take on their own 10k night-time walk, and help to raise vital funds for palliative and end of life care across the community.

Blythe House and Helen’s Trust provides free care and support to people across the High Peak, Hope Valley, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire who are affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement.

The Hospice at Home service has provided over 17,000 hours of care to more than 180 local patients in the comfort of their own home since the start of the first national COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

The Virtual Glow Twilight Walk follows the incredibly popular inaugural event back in 2019.

Sue Boulton (second from left), from Buxton, took part alongside work colleagues in memory of a friend and co-worker. She said: ‘It was about taking part in something that would make a difference to Blythe House. To help raise that much needed funding, enabling them to give support, advice and care to everyone in our community that needs it.

‘It’s all about fun, dressing up and most importantly being part of an event that paid tribute to those we have lost. I joined my old work pals to remember our dear friend and colleague, Karen Byrne.

‘We can’t all be together for 2021 twilight walk, but we can all join together in spirit. Whichever way you decide to walk, virtually with friends, with your partner or family bubble. It’s all about having fun, raising money and remembering those loved ones fighting their own battle or for those that are no longer with us.’

Becca Gregory, fundraising and events coordinator at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, added: ‘We are so excited to be lighting up the night once again in aid of local hospice care. This time, due to COVID restrictions, participants can get involved with their household or support bubble – and see how many other Glow Twilight walkers they can spot along the way! We hope people will get involved across our community – even much further afield – to support the important work undertaken by our amazing hospice clinical teams and volunteers every single day.’

Registration is just £10 and includes a T-shirt, glow sticks and face paint – sign up online before Tuesday 11th May.

Jackie’s husband Rob was first introduced to Blythe House in 2019 after finding out the previous year that advanced prostate cancer had sadly spread to his bones. Rob gained one-to-one advice and support at first, but as his health deteriorated, he began receiving care in the comfort of his own home.

His wife, Jackie, explains more: ‘After struggling on with severe back pain for some time, seeing a GP and a physiotherapist, Rob was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in spring 2018. Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasised and spread into his bones.

‘I persuaded him to go to Blythe House, where he had face-to-face meetings with Karen Clayton [hospice nurse], who he had a huge amount of respect for. He also attended the hospice’s monthly coffee mornings where he’d chat to Karen and receive valuable advice. On two different occasions, I found myself struggling or at the end of my tether and I just walked round to Blythe House and ended up speaking to Karen, and Louise Furmston, [community engagement lead], who were both fantastic. Blythe House is not just for people who are ill; carers and family members needn’t be afraid of reaching out for support.

‘Rob did really well throughout 2018, but around Christmastime, he became really ill; started getting pains in his shoulder and had episodes when he was unable to move. During 2019, he was in and out of hospital and in April 2020, at the height of the first national COVID-19 lockdown, he had a very severe episode and our doctor recommended Hospice at Home support from Blythe House.

‘The team sorted us out completely because we just couldn’t cope physically. They arranged to visit us twice a day in the mornings and evenings, to help wash and dress Rob or get him ready for bed. He recovered a little bit and we decided that we didn’t need the evening sits anymore, but healthcare assistants still came every morning.

‘It is a very lonely feeling seeing the person who you’ve lived with for more than 50 years deteriorate so quickly and become so frail. Rob was a very active and independent man – he did decorating, plastering, plumbing, electrics, DIY. He found the limitations caused by his illness very frustrating and upsetting. It was lovely to have different people come into our home, and for Rob to have someone, other than me, who he could chat to, as we were unable to see friends and family because of COVID. It was also great for me because it gave me much-needed time out as a full-time carer, and different people to talk to about worries or concerns.

‘I can’t begin to imagine how we’d have coped without Hospice at Home. I am quite tough-skinned but I sat and cried privately on many occasions because I just didn’t know how we’d have managed. It was just wonderful to know someone was there. Dr Sarah Parnacott [consultant in palliative medicine], was amazing. I text her one morning with a query regarding Rob’s medication; she replied straight away, and an hour later she was on my doorstep.

‘On the morning that Rob died, Julie, one of the healthcare assistants, had been round to shower and care for him. After she left, I went outside to hang some washing when I heard an almighty crash. I found him in a heap at the bottom of the stairs and called an ambulance straight away. I wasn’t allowed to go in the ambulance with Rob to hospital due to COVID-19, but after advice from Dr Parnacott, we had completed a ReSPECT [Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment] form and this was passed to the paramedics. Soon after, I received a call from a team member at Stepping Hill who informed me that Rob had become unconscious in the ambulance; he asked me to get there as soon as I could.

‘When I arrived at hospital, I had a chat with the consultant who told me that Rob had multiple catastrophic injuries and we decided not to lift his sedation. He quietly slipped away on the 30th August 2020. As tragic as his death was, I knew that it was the best thing. He was so miserable and frightened about what would happen to him over the coming weeks.

‘We have always been very healthy people – we didn’t do doctors, surgeries or help – so it hadn’t occurred to us to seek help from Blythe House. If it wasn’t for our doctor, and the hospice team saying “you can do this/ you can have this,” we wouldn’t have known. It would not have occurred to us to say “help!” without someone prodding us. What I’d say to other people who may be in a similar situation to ours, is just to be aware of the amazing services on offer at Blythe House; don’t hold back from asking for help. It’s not just the palliative and end of life care, but genuine advice and support too.

‘I’d like to say huge thank yous all round; we could not have managed without Blythe House; there was always someone to talk to, and to provide such important care and support.’

Find out more about our hospice services.

Catherine Madge started volunteering at Blythe House’s Whaley Bridge department store in 2014, after her father received care and support from the hospice during the final months of his life. She’s learnt cash handling and visual merchandising skills, and says the camaraderie with fellow volunteers and customers is one of her favourite things about giving her time to support the shop.

The Whaley Bridge resident explains more: ‘I was mainly working at the till, providing general support with displays, both upstairs and downstairs. Initially I worked two mornings a week, then when I began working in the week full-time, I started Saturday afternoon shifts, then filling in for holidays. I also did a stint at a stall in Buxton. I enjoyed bag packs and other fundraising through work with my previous employer.

‘I decided to support the hospice as a retail volunteer to give something back, after my dad, Gordon was helped so much at the end of his life, especially consultations with Dr Sarah Parnacott [consultant in palliative medicine]. This was before the Hospice at Home service, and I realise how much of a difference it would have made to his last days. My stepdad, David also had lots of help from Blythe House too recently, in his final months.

‘When I am not working full-time, I help when I can, and when I was furloughed last year, I contacted Blythe House when the shop was about to re-open, to help out where I could until more permanent volunteers were able to return.

‘My favourite things about volunteering for the shop are the camaraderie that everyone has, all working for the same thing, meeting regular customers and answering queries, you never know what you will be asked!

‘I learnt the till and cash handling (before the pandemic came along), along with developing visual merchandise skills, and, yes really, doing a little dance when something you have displayed sells! There are always little treasures to be found amongst the donations and I have researched some vintage craft items such as knitting and sewing patterns to help them sell in the shop and on eBay.

‘Blythe House takes care of its volunteers, the managers are terrific, and you always know you are making such a difference to this charity, and always giving something back to your community. The volunteers take care of each other, keeping in touch when they can, and you meet so many there is usually time for a quick chat and catch up.

‘When you can find something for a customer, a little treasure, or it is something they have been looking for, for ages, and can’t find elsewhere, it is a real joy. I remember a customer had left some family photos in a book he had donated. Fortunately, I was able to locate the book and return the photos – he was really chuffed! Christmas is always a special time; lots of decorations and presents are bought, and far too many chocolatey things around!

‘Something I really enjoy is talking with people, helping them out, saying hello to regular customers and volunteers. So many people said they were really pleased when the shop was able to re-open again last year, let’s hope it’s not too long before it opens again in 2021!

‘I would say when thinking about volunteering for Blythe House, you actually get a lot more back than you put in; a real feeling of doing something for your community, whatever it is, and I just wish I had more time now, but hopefully that will come. In the meantime, I donate what I can, and enjoy keeping in touch with this hub of the community.

‘Finally, Blythe House really helped me get back into work and back into the community after going through bereavement and, given the chance, I would love to do more.’

Find out more about how you could volunteer your time to support your local hospice.

A new shop to help raise funds for local hospice care in set to open in Bakewell.

The Helen’s Trust retail outlet is located at 1 Royal Oak Place on Matlock Street, next door to Rural Threads.

Helen’s Trust and Blythe House came together last year to offer hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

The new store joins Blythe House’s other very successful shops in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge, which collectively turned over in excess of £405,000 to support local hospice services during 2018/19.

Alistair Rogerson, business development manager at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, said: ‘We are really excited to be opening up a new shop premises in beautiful Bakewell. Helen’s Trust is the local charity in Bakewell and the money generated from the shop will help to fund end of life hospice services delivered in the community, where they are needed most.

‘Charity shops in general receive such bad press but our four current shops really are a treasure trove of high-quality items very kindly donated by local people; sorted and displayed by dedicated volunteers, who all wish to support their local hospice charity. It is clear how well-loved they are, by how much money they bring in to support our services. This is so important as we need to raise £1.5 million annually to fund local hospice care.

‘The decision to take on a new shop during the ongoing pandemic was not taken lightly. We had to weigh up the pros and cons very seriously, and our committed volunteer board members were confident and excited about the prospect of receiving such great support from our Dales communities.

‘We are eagerly awaiting updates from the government about when we may be able to re-open all of our shops, and we very much look forward to safely welcoming Derbyshire Dales shoppers to the new store as soon as possible.’

In the meantime, the shop will be open for COVID-secure donation drop offs from 10.30am to 2.30pm every Wednesday – starting Wednesday 3rd February. If you have good quality, pre-loved items that you’d like to donate to help raise funds for local end of life care, please take them along to the shop between these times if you are undertaking an essential journey. Find out more.

Helen’s Trust and Blythe House are on the lookout for volunteers to help operate the new Bakewell shop when it opens. Find out more about getting involved and apply online now.

 

Updated 21.01.2021: After the success of the first event in January, another COVID-secure eBay donation session is set to take place at our New Mills shop (3 Union Road) from 9.30am to 12noon on Thursday 4th February 

If you would like to donate quality or specialist items for eBay, please bring them along! MASKS, GLOVES AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ESSENTIAL.

We have a team of experts on hand to make sure we can get the best possible price for any valuable or high-quality pieces donated to us, to go towards supporting our essential work in these challenging times.

Please note that this is NOT an opportunity for you to donate general items. Please visit our Bakewell or Chapel-en-le-Frith drop and donate sessions to donate general items. Find out more.

This drop and donate session is solely for specialist items that you’d like to donate for sale on our eBay site including designer wear and vintage items, collectibles, homeware, and luxury goods.

Email for further information.

Visit our eBay site to see the types of items on offer.

John Mountain started to attend Blythe House’s monthly prostate cancer support group in 2018, after he was diagnosed with the condition. Alongside other health issues, the Chapel-en-le-Frith resident has sought support from the hospice’s community volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, John explains more:

‘My Partner and I knew about Blythe House from its early planning stages back in the 1980s, but I started to get support and information approximately three years ago after I had been diagnosed with low grade, early stage prostate cancer, and began attending the support group meetings.

‘After discussions with other group members I decided on a treatment called brachytherapy (a form of radiation therapy), where small radioactive pellets approximately the size of grains of rice are implanted directly into the prostate, under a general anaesthetic. The surgery was successful and I was allowed home after an overnight stay. It was really helpful to discuss matters with people who had wide-ranging knowledge of the condition and had undergone the same treatment, which I would recommend to anyone who was suitable.

‘Prior to the prostate cancer diagnosis, I had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease approximately six to seven years ago, which is being controlled reasonably well with medication.

‘I was also suffering mobility issues with spinal disc problems. I was seen at Salford Royal Hospital, and put on the list for some injections but with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, everything was put on hold. The spinal issues got worse, affecting my mobility and I decided to pay for surgery, which was carried out in September and my mobility is slowly improving.

‘I sought support from Blythe House’s community volunteers during my recovery phase. All volunteers I have spoken to have been great; very helpful and friendly, and I know I can always rely on the service. Things would have been very different without their help in getting prescriptions collected from the pharmacy and delivered to my home.

‘For anyone who has difficulties and needs some help, I would recommend they get in touch with Blythe House where they will find all the help and advice they need.’

Find out more about how Blythe House could support you or your family.