Winter cleaning for a cause

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As we approach the winter months, St John’s Hospice are finding they have a shortage of winter clothes. With the cold weather closing in fast, we’ll soon be needing to wrap up in woolly jumpers, thick coats and knitted scarves for those walks to lectures that seem so much longer when it’s freezing out. But, if you find when looking through your wardrobe that you’ve got anything that’s a bit too small or that you just don’t wear anymore, St John’s would appreciate them.

St John’s have one of their charity shops right here on campus. It was a shop I became very familiar with during Fresher’s Week, since it was somewhere I could find replacements for all the essential items I’d inevitably managed to forget to bring. Cups and dishes in particular were things I was glad to be able to find quickly after having left my newly-bought crockery sitting on the kitchen counter back at home. As temperatures start to drop, if you find that you have excessive clothing or other essentials with which you’re willing to part, you may consider donating them, as other students will find themselves in need.

With the shop situated so conveniently in the centre of campus, just below the post office, it couldn’t be easier to donate any bits and pieces you can spare. All you need to do it pop them in a bag, take them down to the shop and hand them to one of the volunteers. Even if you think it’s the ugliest jumper you’ve ever seen, it could always be to someone else’s taste. As as long as the clothes are in good condition, the charity shop will be happy to take them off your hands!

At the same time as helping out people who might struggle to afford to wrap up this winter, you’ll also be providing much-needed support to the hospice service and their patients. All the profits from the shop’s sales are put towards ensuring that the hospice can carry out its vital work. This can range from full-time care for all the hospice’s in-patients, to providing a comfortable space for carers and family members to take a break and have the chance to talk to others in a similarly difficult situation to their own.

For patients and their families, all the care and support they receive from the hospice is completely free of charge. But sadly, it’s not without cost for the charity itself. All of St John’s hospice services have to rely critically on charitable donations. According to their website, 70% of their funding comes from a combination of direct donations and the income made by its shops.

The charity’s motto, ‘Built by the people for the people’, highlights its reliance on the generosity of communities and individuals in order to continue being able to deliver its high standard of care. A 2013 NHS report on the conditions of the St John’s hospice in Lancaster suggested it could potentially become the ‘palliative care “hub”’ for North Lancashire’. Clearly then, the standard of care the charity are striving to keep up is extremely high and the work they do it essential both here in Lancaster and throughout England.

So if there’s anything you can spare, any clothes, books, home goods (including that extra bedding pack you thought you’d need when you moved in)Abi, jewellery and accessories or even old mobile phones, then please think about taking a few bags down to one of St John’s Hospice’s shops. Our campus branch is open 9am- 4:30om every Monday to Friday. It’s never a bad thing to have a bit less clutter and a bit more space in your wardrobe anyway.

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