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.


    20th February 2023

    Broadstairs College student cooks up a storm at Pilgrims Hospices

    Broadstairs College student, Jordan Herring is cooking up a storm in Pilgrims Hospices’ Thanet kitchen. The 22-year-old, second year student from Broadstairs, is enjoying undertaking a work placement as part of his Level 2 catering qualification.

    Jordan said: “I started my work experience in Pilgrims’ kitchen last year, it’s just one day each week but I’m really enjoying it. I love being part of the team, they are all so friendly; I felt immediately welcome from the very first day.”

    Georgie Braithwaite, Pilgrims Head Chef said: “It’s great to have Jordon with us, we are very happy to support him as he learns new skills, and really pleased he feels there are many benefits to learning more about the food requirements of patients here in the hospice.  

    “Being part of the catering team can be extremely busy and sometimes quite noisy. Jordan has taken everything in his stride and has blended into our team really well even taking the jokes and kitchen banter with huge smiles.

    “He needs to complete 100 hours experience as part of his on-going training, we are delighted to support him on his journey forward.

    “Jordan will have the opportunity to chat with patients about the dietary requirements and how their individual needs can be catered for in the hospice kitchen.”

    Jordan and Georgie in the Thanet hospice kitchen

    Pilgrims has worked with Broadstairs College over a number of years and as part of the on-going training, the students have provided an afternoon high tea,  complete with waiting staff and a Christmas dinner for patients and staff. “It’s always great to have these lovely treats and we hope the students gain valuable hands-on experience,” Georgie added.

    Jordan in the Thanet hospice kitchen

    Jordan explained: “I think taking the catering qualification at college was a really good decision. It’s definitely provided me with plenty of skills that we help me through life. 

    “The work placement was arranged by Natalie, Broadstairs College Work Placement Officer who engages with organisations to match work opportunities to suit people’s personality and style. I think she picked a good match for me!

    “The placement has helped me to grow in confidence, and I know the placement is helping me to make a difference to the patients, it has a feel-good factor, and it’s really worthwhile.

    “When I’m cooking the time just flies by, there’s no one thing that I’m particularly good at, but I’m absolutely enjoying learning lots of new things with the Pilgrims catering team.”

    To find out about current opportunities at Pilgrims Hospices, please visit:


    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.

    15th September 2020

    Pilgrims’ catering team celebrates college award

    Pilgrims Hospice has won Canterbury College’s Outstanding Employer Award 2020. The award is the first of its kind and was given to Pilgrims’ catering department for its quality of student work placements.

    Pilgrims’ Catering Services Manager, Ian Ashton, commented: “We’re delighted to receive this award from Canterbury College and have the department’s work recognised.

    “I believe the work experience students gain at Pilgrims are an essential part of their education. It is a privilege to help them learn new skills and develop their future careers.”

    Pilgrims has partnered with colleges in east Kent for more than a decade and the catering team has welcomed dozens of students through its doors in recent years.

    What started as students making afternoon tea for volunteers, staff and patients rapidly developed into work placements in the hospice kitchens.

    We’re delighted to receive this award from Canterbury College.

    Ian Ashton – Pilgrims Hospices Catering Services Manager

    Many former Pilgrims’ students have gone on to enjoy successful careers in catering and some enjoyed their work experience so much they stayed on!

    Abbie Kay, East Kent College’s Industry Liaison Officer, says: “The placements and opportunities that Pilgrims have assisted us with allow our students to learn in the industry that they are studying. 

    “They also give students a sense of helping out and many of our students have some sort of personal connection with Pilgrims Hospices.”

    Ian adds: “Without my team, these opportunities couldn’t be offered to students, so I would like to thank them for all they do. I’d also like thank Canterbury College for this award – it’s nice for the department’s work to be recognised outside the organisation.”

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Employer Awards ceremony could not go ahead as planned. Instead, the college created a digital experience for this year’s eight winners, which included a video message from the college’s Principal and an Employer Awards webpage.

    Congratulations to Ian and the catering team for winning this prestigious award!

    If you would like to find out more about working with Pilgrims Hospices click here. Our volunteering opportunities can be found here.

    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 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. 

    19th December 2019

    Turkey and all the trimmings

    Turkey Christmas meals for over 600 patients, visitors, volunteers and staff will be generously supplied by Appledore Turkeys again this festive season.  Ian Ashton, Pilgrims Hospices Catering Manager collected the donation and distributed across all three hospice sites this week.

    Ian said: “Appledore are regular supporters, their kind donation of turkeys has been helping my team to prepare delicious festive turkey meals for a number of years now.

    “Not only do we prepare a traditional feast for service users within our Therapy Centres, for visitors and, staff during the festive season; we plan creative dishes and alternative menus for those who require more specialist dietary requirements.


    “Their generous donation makes an enormous difference to our kitchens, helping us to provide a really special traditional festive treat for those within our care.

    “I would like to send a huge thank you to owners Andrew and Clive Wreathall, their families and colleagues at Appledore Turkeys who always think of us here at Pilgrims Hospices and help us to deliver some truly special Christmas meals.”

    The family run business has a farming heritage dating back to 1940 when grandfather Frank Wreathall first started rearing turkeys. Today the farm has over 1,200 hectares of Crown Estate farmland on the Romney Marsh.

    Pilgrims Hospices is grateful for the support of local businesses who provide donations of fresh goods, sweet treats, crackers and napkins and so much more, all of which help to make difficult times special for all of us.

    Thank you and, merry Christmas.

    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 people in east Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured.  The charity supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.

    8th July 2019

    Asian fusion adds a touch of spice to hospice menus

    Local businesses across the county provide support to charities in many ways. Asian fusion flavours have become a regular tasty addition to the menus at Pilgrims Hospices with donations from Karimix UK Ltd. The local producers of award-winning chutneys, sauces and marinades are based in Selling near Faversham and use local produce to create inspirational flavours.

    Carolyn Boyd, Brand Manager for Karimix, said: “Our company has a no food waste policy; and manufactures mostly in 120-kilo batches, using recyclable glass jars and metal lids.

    “Our products are made to order, with any extra product donated to the catering team at Pilgrims Hospices.

    “We are really pleased to help the hospice kitchens to create additional recipes with interesting and varied tastes for patients and staff.”

    Monica Chia, owner and chief recipe creator, brings inspiration and flavours from Singapore to her product range. She told us: “We are delighted to make donations and support our local hospice community.”

    We are delighted to support our local hospice community.

    Monica – Karimix

    Why Karimix support Pilgrims

    Christopher Annison was a valued member of the Karimix staff and was cared for by Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury after being diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

    “Christopher had a lovely room looking out on to the gardens. The hospice was tranquil and we were able to take a walk with him in the gardens. Christopher fell asleep and did not wake up, he had told us he’d seen everyone he wanted to see and had made his peace with the world.”

    “We miss our colleague but know he had been at peace at the hospice and pain-free,”  Monica explained.

    Message from Pilgrims catering team

    Ian Ashton, Pilgrims Catering Manager, said: “My team has included the delicious products in various dishes for our patients, visitors, volunteers and staff across the hospices sites.”

    “Recently the kitchen created a variety of pasta dishes for the charity fundraising event, ‘Pilgrims Way Challenge’, using some of the exciting flavours donated by Karimix. With support from Monica, we catered for over 600 Pilgrims supporters who thoroughly loved it.”

    “Any products we’ve been unable to use have been made available for staff and volunteers to purchase for a small donation. My personal favourite was the chilli mayonnaise; as a dip or spread over corn on the cob it’s very tasty!”

    Everyone at Pilgrims Hospices would like to send a huge thank you for the delicious donations.

    If you or someone you know is coping with a life-limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or visit Pilgrims Wellbeing Programme for more information.

    15th October 2018

    Ice cream treats at Pilgrims

    Pilgrims Hospices catering team are generously supported by a raft of local suppliers and producers, who dontate products to the kitchens of all three hospice sites.  Recently Simply Ice Cream from Bonnington, Ashford delivered a delicious range of ice creams, for patients and families at the hospice in Ashford.

    The donation was gratefully received by Head Chefs at the Ashford hospice, Bobby Antony and Julie Gilliver.  Julie said: “It’s so important for our patients and visitors to be well catered for around the clock.  We regularly cater for a wide variety of dietary needs; I’m sure these special additional treats will fly out of our freezers in no time!

    We are totally in awe of the work the wonderful team at PIlgrims Hospices do every day.

    Sally Newall – Simply Ice Cream’s Managing Director

    “We send a hugh thank you to Simply Ice Cream, we’re very grateful for their support.  Pilgrims Hospices kitchens have to be managed on tight budgets, charitable donations such as this really help to make a difference.”

    Bobby Antony and Julie Gilliver, Head Chefs at Pilgrims Hospice Ashford

    Simply Ice Cream’s Managing Director Sally Newall said: “We are totally in awe of the work the wonderful team at Pilgrims Hospices do every day for their patients and supporting families. We were pleased to be able to show support in such a simple way.”

    Simply Ice Cream is completely natural hand-made product range created without any additives or preservatives, using only locally sourced ingredients (where possible). Its range comprises over 30 different flavours.

    If you or someone you know is coping with a life limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or  read about more about how we can help.


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