17th August 2023

    Good for the planet and good for Pilgrims patients

    Vertical farming specialists GrowUp are donating fresh salad vegetables from their range of produce to Pilgrims Hospices kitchens.  The regular supply of healthy fresh leaves is definitely a winner with patients and staff, who’s meals are catered for across the hospice sites each day.

    Ian Ashton Pilgrims Hospices Catering Services Manager explained:  “I’d seen a TV programme about local producers, and innovative methods of growing fresh produce.  I’m always interested to meet local companies who produce high-quality ingredients; offering healthy and nutritious meals is an important part of Pilgrims’ care.

    “GrowUp is not only producing high-quality salad leaves, but also demonstrating sustainable and efficient farming practices.  This environmentally friendly approach aligns with the goal of creating a more sustainable and responsible food system, in which Pilgrims are investing time and efforts to be an integral part.

    “It really piqued my interest and after some super sleuthing, I managed to contact Kate Hofman, Founder and Chief Brand Officer of GrowUp Farms, in order to open a conversation about them supporting Pilgrims with their produce.

    “Fantastic news, we now collect around 120 packs of donated salad leaves every Friday from GrowUp!   Their regular donations are contributing to nutritious meals for patients, which can have a positive impact on their wellbeing and comfort during their stay.

    Donations from local providers, helps the catering teams to allocate their resources more efficiently, and focus on providing exceptional meals, that have a positive impact and make a difference in the lives of those wo need it most.

    Pilgrims volunteer drivers collect the donated produce in chiller vans, along with stock from Thanet Earth, as part of the regular supply to our kitchens.  I’m pleased to say with their support we’re able to offer healthy salad options for both painters and staff throughout the whole week.

    Vertical farming is very much a long-term solution to the problems we have seen recently caused by climate change and issues with supply chains.  The local business is powered by 100% renewable energy producing.

    A huge thank you to our amazing contributors.

    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured.  The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.


    28th July 2023

    Hundreds join together to celebrate treasured memories with sunflowers

    Pilgrims Hospices were visited by more than 600 people in their gardens at Canterbury, Thanet and Ashford to find their loved one’s dedicated sunflower memory markers. Despite predictions of a slightly damp weekend ahead, the rain stayed away and there was a lovely atmosphere at each event with the opportunity for friends and family to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives.

    Visitors were welcomed with tea, cake and strawberries with cream served by Pilgrims volunteers in the charity’s Therapy Centres. These spaces, most often used by the Wellbeing Teams for their Living Well and creative art sessions, hosted beautiful displays of sunflower-themed artworks made by patients and carers.

    Members of the Wellbeing Team were present on the day, to speak to visitors about their work, and hear their memories of lost loved ones. Jane, Wellbeing Practitioner at the Thanet Hospice, said: “Families talked about the calm and peaceful feelings they had about being back at the hospice, that it is a safe space for them to talk in, how they felt cared for and that carers too were treated with such dignity both before and after their loved one had died. Some had found it hard to return but then were able to cry, laugh and feel they had made a positive step forward by attending the event. It was a day that was right for both those whose feelings were still incredibly raw, and for those who were returning after 10 years of attending.”


    In the lead up to the events, the team at Pilgrims reached out to the local community to help support the event. Ellie Cane, who runs the events at the Hospice, extended her thanks saying:

    “Thank you to everyone who kindly donated which helped make the events such a success. To all the keen crafters and knitters who produced beautiful items to sell for donations on the day; Meadow Grange Nursery and our volunteer gardeners who grew over 200 sunflowers plants; and to the Tesco Community Champions and S & A Farms who provided the strawberries for us to serve to our visitors. I’m delighted to say this year’s Sunflower Memories Appeal has so far raised in excess of £36,000, with donations still coming in. This just would not have been possible without the collective effort of our staff, volunteers and our amazing local community.”

    There is still time to donate to have a dedicated sunflower memory marker sent to you in memory of your loved one. For more information contact the Pilgrims Hospices Supporter Relations Team on 01227 782062, or at supporter.relations@pilgrimshospices.org.

    Pilgrims Hospices cares for thousands of local people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.

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