Hospice retail awards celebrate dedication and innovation

May 01, 2014

A hospice house clearance team which has helped raise public awareness about the wide-ranging support its hospice offers bereaved families and a dedicated retail manager who boosted her hospice’s shop profits have emerged as the winners in this year’s Hospice Retail Awards hosted by Help the Hospices.

Shirley McCann, Retail Operations Manager at Hope House Children’s Hospices, scooped the Hospice Retail Staff Member of the Year award at the Help the Hospices Retail Conference 2014 held in Birmingham. The annual conference is run by the national hospice care charity to develop knowledge and best practice among hospice retailers.

Shirley started working for the hospice, located in Morda, near Oswestry, as an administrator in November 2007. In early 2009, during the absence of the then Head of Retail due to long-term illness, she willingly took on this role, in addition to her own duties. Despite not having a retail background, she demonstrated a real ability and flair for retailing, managing to boost turnover and profits which increased by over 10% a year and earning the widespread admiration and respect of her colleagues.

Commenting on the award, Andy Goldsmith, Chief Executive of Hope House Children’s Hospices, said:

"Shirley is an exceptional member of the team who through her unstinting commitment, energy and ability has grown our retail operations over the past five years, developed the team and overcome setbacks and challenges to constantly deliver a successful business. She is a fantastic ambassador for the organisation."

The House Clearance team at Hospiscare in Exeter won the Most Inventive Hospice Retail Initiativeaward for its work generating new income and also helping raise public awareness about the wide-ranging support the hospice offers bereaved families.

The dedicated team - which has the strapline 'Give your possessions a good home' – offers a service for re-using unwanted goods left after someone dies, either by selling them through the hospice’s high street shops and online outlets or recycling them. All the profits generated are ploughed back into the hospice helping fund the care it provides to terminally ill people and their families.

Each member of the team is trained to understand the impact of bereavement. The professionalism and sensitivity they have demonstrated towards bereaved families while carrying out their work has generated considerable good will and driven demand for the service.

Glynis Atherton, Chief Executive of Hospiscare, said:

"Our house clearance business is fantastic because it generates stock, is eco-friendly and, in 2013/14 resulted in over £200k in sales.

"However, what is unique and inventive about this initiative is that it is becoming recognised as a valued as part of Hospiscare's offering to bereaved families and is helping to grow awareness of the charity and build social capital."

Antonia Bunnin, Director of Hospice Support and Development at Help the Hospices, added:

"Our annual retail conference enables hospice retailers to come together to learn more about new developments in their sector and the wider retail environment, as well as presenting a valuable networking opportunity.

"Our winners this year demonstrate some inspirational examples of hospice retail at its best."

Notes to Editor

  • The Hospice Retail Awards were presented at the Help the Hospices Retail Conference 2014, held at St John's Hotel, Solihull, Birmingham on April 30.
  • The Help the Hospices Retail Conference was set up to develop knowledge and best practice among hospice retailers and to provide an opportunity for attendees to network and learn from colleagues’ experiences.
  • This year’s conference - Sustainable growth: rising to the challenge and the ever changing face of the high street - focuses on maximising income in a challenging and growing market and looking at niche and specialist areas hospices can develop to ensure sustainability. Sessions will share best practice and innovation in specialist areas such as vintage, house-clearance, as well as looking at retail activity more widely.
  • Help the Hospices is the UK’s leading charity for hospice care which supports and champions the work of 219 hospices across the UK.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries about Help the Hospices contact Suzanne Stevenson on 020 7520 8296 or by email at s.stevenson@hospiceuk.org

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