19th June 2024

    Pilgrims Hospices Music and Media Sale draws enthusiastic crowd

    On Saturday 18 May 2024, St. Peter’s Church Hall buzzed with activity as Pilgrims Hospices hosted a fantastic Music and Media Sale, attracting a large number of eager shoppers.

    The event was a massive success, with numerous treasures found and many happy customers leaving with smiles and bags full of bargains.

    The event, organised by Jonathan Gummer, Pilgrims’ E-commerce Manager, with his team, raised an impressive £3,025, all of which will support Pilgrims Hospices’ end-of-life care services.

    The team expressed their delight at the outcome, stating, “The event was a pleasing success. We were thrilled by the turnout and the enthusiasm of attendees, many of whom have already expressed interest in seeing more events like this in the future.”

    The sale featured a diverse range of pre-loved items, including DVDs, vinyl records, CDs, books, t-shirts, toys, and much more. Shoppers had the opportunity to purchase these items at affordable prices, making the event not only a fundraising triumph but also a cost-efficient shopping experience for all who attended.

    We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make this event such a wonderful success for Pilgrims Hospices. Your support enables us to continue providing essential care to those in need.

    Pilgrims’ eBay team

    One of the standout benefits of the sale was its emphasis on environmental sustainability. By promoting the purchase of pre-loved items, the event contributed to reducing waste and the demand for new products. This eco-friendly approach aligns with Pilgrims Hospices’ commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Shoppers were able to find unique items while also knowing that they were making a positive impact on the environment.

    Additionally, the event showcased the financial advantages of buying second-hand. With the rising costs of new media and merchandise, purchasing pre-loved items offers a more affordable alternative without compromising on quality. Many attendees were delighted to find rare and valuable items at a fraction of their original cost.

    Volunteering played a crucial role in the success of the event. Pilgrims Hospices relies heavily on the dedication and support of its volunteers. The Music and Media Sale was no exception, with numerous volunteers helping to organise, set up, and manage the event. Their efforts were instrumental in ensuring everything ran smoothly and efficiently.

    The success of the Music and Media Sale was a testament to the community’s support and the hard work of everyone involved. Pilgrims’ eBay team extended their heartfelt thanks to all who attended and contributed to the event: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make this event such a wonderful success for Pilgrims Hospices. Your support enables us to continue providing essential care to those in need.”

    Overall, the Pilgrims Hospices Music and Media Sale was not just a fundraising success but also an event that brought the community together, promoted sustainable shopping practices, and highlighted the importance of supporting local charities. With the positive feedback and the enthusiasm shown by attendees, there is a strong possibility that similar events will be organised in the future, further benefiting Pilgrims Hospices and the community it serves.

    Date for your diary

    The next Music and Media Sale is planned for Saturday 14 December 2024; keep an eye on Pilgrims Hospices’ website and social media for updates.

    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 supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.

    31st May 2024

    Introducing Niomi: A dedicated Ward Support Volunteer

    Niomi is a cherished member of the Pilgrims Hospice Ashford community, where she serves as a Ward Support Volunteer.

    Her journey and experiences reflect her deep commitment to providing comfort and support to both patients and their families during some of life’s most challenging moments.

    Embracing the role with compassion and experience

    Niomi’s background is rich in caregiving and community involvement. After working as a professional nanny for ten years and raising her own children, she transitioned into teaching and later, community care. Her extensive experience, particularly with clients with dementia and those at the end of life, has equipped her with the skills and empathy needed to support hospice patients and their families effectively.

    Every situation is unique. It’s about working out what’s required for each individual.


    Inspired by Dr. Kathryn Mannix’s patient-led approach to end-of-life care, Niomi joined Pilgrims Hospices. With the End in Mind, a book by Mannix, profoundly influenced her perspective, reinforcing the importance of open, honest conversations about death and dying.

    Niomi with Dr. Kathryn Mannix


    A day in the life of a hospice volunteer

    At Pilgrims Hospices, Niomi’s days are filled with meaningful interactions. She visits patients and families, offering her presence and assistance, which often frees up time for nurses. Her role involves simple yet significant actions — listening, offering reassurance, and providing a comforting presence.

    Many people have never been to a hospice before and don’t know what dying looks like. Surprisingly, many are very open about their views on death and dying. It’s about making a difference to patients and families, putting them at ease when they are ready to come to the end of their journey.


    Niomi emphasises the importance of respecting boundaries and ensuring that patients are comfortable with her company: “Every situation is unique. It’s about working out what’s required for each individual,” she says.

    Supporting families and enhancing the hospice environment

    Recognising a need for more activities for visiting children, Niomi took the initiative to provide bookmarks, drawing paper, and other art materials. This effort, supported by Hospice Services Manager, Wendy Kelk, helps ease the pressure on parents and creates a more welcoming environment for young visitors.

    Niomi also highlights the supportive and positive atmosphere among the hospice staff: “I talk to the nurses, and they often tell me this is the happiest they’ve been in years. Annie Hogben, Expert Volunteer Project Lead, in particular, is a wonderful support to all of us. She makes you feel great, as if you are the only one in the room.”

    Balancing volunteering with professional life

    In addition to her volunteer work, Niomi runs her own Personal Assistant (PA) company, which allows her to manage her time effectively and keep her Wednesdays free for volunteering. Her PA role involves companionship, meal preparation, and assisting clients with organising their lives, focusing on those with dementia.

    Looking ahead with gratitude

    Reflecting on her role at Pilgrims Hospices, Niomi feels both lucky and blessed to be part of such an incredible team: “This environment understands how a person dies, enabling patients to remain dignified. It’s how everyone deserves to die, frankly. I’m very grateful to be, in a small way, part of this.”

    Niomi and her husband at Cycle Challenge 2024

    Her passion for the hospice and its mission shines through in every interaction, making a significant impact on the lives of those she serves. As Niomi continues her journey, she remains dedicated to supporting Pilgrims Hospices, hoping to inspire others to join her in this fulfilling and essential work.

    In addition to offering her time and energy as a dedicated ward support volunteer, Niomi, alongside her husband, also trained diligently to participate in the fundraising event Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge in May 2024. Demonstrating remarkable courage and commitment, she undertook the 30-mile ride across the beautiful Kent countryside during the 14th annual event, contributing not only through her volunteer work, but also by actively raising funds to support the hospice’s vital services.

    Join us at Pilgrims Hospices

    Niomi’s story is a testament to the profound impact of volunteering. If you feel inspired by her experiences and would like to learn more about how you can make a difference, please consider joining us at Pilgrims Hospices. Together, we can provide compassionate care and support to those who need it most.

    Inspired to become a Pilgrims’ volunteer?

    Visit pilgrimshospices.org/volunteer and look out for more stories and information throughout Volunteers’ Week!

    Volunteers’ Week celebrates the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the UK. The celebration starts on the first Monday in June every year. It’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole.

    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.

    8th September 2023

    There’s nothing quite like afternoon tea!

    National Afternoon Tea Week, what a wonderful thing to celebrate! Pilgrims Hospices shared tea with their Living Well groups, and agreed it was a great opportunity to bring people together and enjoy delicious treats. It’s heart-warming to hear that Pilgrims Hospices’ Wellbeing Group recently organised a special afternoon tea for their patients at the Canterbury Ashford and Thanet hospices.

    Jane Stanley, Pilgrims Wellbeing Practitioner told us: ”I just want to say, a huge thank you to Pilgrims catering teams, for putting together such a lovely afternoon tea for our service users.  The chefs are always ready to help make our patients feel very special, nothing is too much trouble.

    “They are normally tirelessly working behind the scenes ensuring each and every day that patients are well fed, have their strength built up, and even in their last days, patients can enjoy every moment and enjoy having tasty food to eat. During National Afternoon Tea Week, the catering teams at Thanet, Canterbury and Ashford were thrust into the spotlight, were their kindness and skills were truly recognised.

    “With short notice, they prepared an afternoon tea for the patients who attended the Living Well groups across the hospice sites.  They exceeded expectations, offering sausage rolls, sandwiches, dips, a cheese board, freshly made scones, cakes and a fruit platter. The standard of cooking and presentation was 5 Star, said one patient who tucked in.”

    Afternoon tea is a cherished British tradition, and it can bring a lot of joy and comfort to those in hospice care. Scones and sausage rolls are classic choices for afternoon tea, and serving tea alongside these treats makes it a delightful experience for everyone involved.

    Celebrations like this not only provide a chance to enjoy delicious food but also create a sense of community and support among the patients and staff. The hospice environment can be challenging, and such events can lift the spirits and foster a warm and caring atmosphere.

    It’s heartening to see organisations like Pilgrims Hospices making an effort to provide these special moments for their patients, ensuring they have the best possible quality of life during their time at the hospice. National Afternoon Tea Week is a perfect occasion to cherish those moments and celebrate life together.

    A huge thank you to Pilgrims Catering Teams

    Jane    –   Pilgrims

    It was made extra special when patients were able to thank the chefs in person, when they delivered the trollies of tasty treats. Gasps of joy and wonder could be heard as many were rendered speechless by the standard of work, one patient said, he had been on a luxury cruise where the food was not nearly so delicious or skilfully presented. Comments from those who enjoyed the fruits of the teams’ labours included “Absolutely brilliant” “A delicious array” “Scrumptious” “Lovely Jubbly” “Most enjoyable” and “Wow so much effort, so much care and attention.”

    Ian Ashton, Pilgrims Head of Catering Services said: “This shows the wonderful team spirit fostered within our catering staff, they truly value each other, this is what makes our hospice kitchens so successful.”

    Alison Griffiths, a Living Well Support Volunteer said: “Part of my role each week is to help support the patients who attend the Living Well Group with their lunch requirements. In the course of my doing so, I will often go and see the kitchen staff with requests on behalf of the patients. I have always found all the catering staff who work in Pilgrims Hospices kitchens to be extremely obliging and helpful. They always do their best to meet the individual needs and requests of the patients.

    “Whilst the kitchen staff are always very busy catering for the whole of the Hospice, the team are always cheerful and welcoming. As a volunteer it is clear how all the kitchen staff really make a significant contribution to the enjoyment of the patients who attend the Living Well Groups. The patients frequently ask me to pass on their compliments to everyone in the kitchen.”

    The Wellbeing Teams know that without volunteers like Alison, who give their time and skills so kindly, the groups run at the hospices would not be as successful or run as smoothly. There is nowhere quite like Pilgrims with such a beautiful team spirit and genuine care of people.

    Visit the Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing Programme more information on care and services.  Would you like to become a hospice volunteer?  Opportunities are listed on the website here:

    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. 


    Margate community volunteers are recognised with Mayor’s awards

    The Mayor’s Community Awards were hosted by Margate mayor Rob Yates, and director of Resort Studios, Ayanna Bulale on Saturday 19th August.  A community picnic in the Westbrook Sunken Gardens enabled the community to share in the success of friends, neighbours and colleagues who had been recognised for their commitment and dedication.  Visitors enjoyed entertainment, a raffle with prizes from local authors, artists and restaurants, along with celebrating the achievements of grassroots community groups and individuals.

    Mayor Rob said: “As Mayor of Margate, it gives me so much joy to be associated with the numerous community groups who are the heart of our Town.

    “It has been my pleasure and privilege to personally thank these groups, a lot of whom work without the recognition they deserve.”

    Almost 50 individuals and organisations received awards during the event, with everyone enjoying a community picnic in the sunshine, while being entertained by the Social Singing Choir.

    Steven Turner – Pilgrims’ Ward Support Volunteer accepted the award on behalf of the Volunteer Team.

    Pilgrims Hospices amazing ward support volunteers, received recognition for their dedication to the clinical team and patients in the hospices.

    The Mayor personally thanked and presented handcrafted awards from Clayspace to the community groups across the seven wards of Margate, they all had an opportunity to speak about the important work they deliver day in day out.

    The speakers from the organisations continually highlighted the kindness and talent within the community.  The hard work of all the volunteers who dedicate their time to support organisations and charities, is highly valued and speakers agreed the community awards were a fine opportunity to say thank you.

    Annie Hogben, Pilgrims Hospices Expert Volunteer Project Lead, spoke at the event, and shared her delight with all those present, acknowledging the importance of her volunteer team, and the value they add to the care that Pilgrims provide for the local community.

    Steve Turner, Pilgrims Ward Support Volunteer with Health Care Assistant (HCA) Cathryn Weston attended the event.  Steven accepted the award and thanked his fellow volunteers at the presentation.

    Artist Tracey Emin and Margate councillors Jack Packman, Heather Keen, John Edwards, Leo Britcher and Elysa d’Abbro, county councillor Barry Lewis, Margate mayoress Iris Johnston and Ramsgate mayor Pat Moore were among the guests.

    It’s heartening to learn that the Margate Community Awards event recognised individuals with awards. Acknowledging and honouring the efforts of these dedicated individuals and organisations can have a positive impact on the community, fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation.

    Community events like this often serve as a platform to showcase the incredible work that often goes unnoticed in local neighbourhoods. By celebrating these grassroots efforts, the event helps inspire others to get involved and make a difference as well.

    If you would like to find out about volunteering for Pilgrims Hospices, visiting the website www.pilgrimshospices.org/volunteering.

    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices care for thousands of people who are facing a terminal diagnosis, and their families, by providing skilled and compassionate care and enabling them to live well in every moment. Your donation can help us to be there for the next family who need us.



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