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#Childrenshospiceweek is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospice and palliative care services across the UK. As part of raising the profile, we interviewed our MD, Ian Hargreaves. Ian has a vested interest in our well-loved local hospice St Andrew’s and children’s hospice Andy’s.

Ian is currently Chair of the board of Trustees for St Andrew’s and Andy’s, a uniquely combined service for adults and children, located in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire. As a business, we are keen to get involved with community projects and support where we can. Ian has developed and led this ethos since starting First Media 20 years ago.

We spoke to Ian about his involvement with the hospice, the challenges they face and why it’s important…

Ian, can you start by telling us about St Andrew’s?

“St Andrew’s has been central to the local community in Grimsby, Hull and surrounding areas for over 40 years. It’s a well-loved charity, which is represented by the current 500 volunteers, staff and ambassadors. It offers people free care for patients of all ages with any progressive, life-limiting illness. St Andrew’s, the adult hospice and Andy’s the children’s hospice are all under one roof, making it easier to provide a wide range of services to both groups, sharing resources and management of staff and volunteers.”

Why did you get involved?

“I’ve supported the hospice for over 25 years in various ways, both individually and through First Media. My involvement came about after a family member used the service. I saw that the care and support that she received was outstanding and wanted to get involved. In 2016 I was invited to join the board and became Chair in 2017.”

What skills and experience have you brought to the hospice?

“I’ve spent most of my career working within the digital media, software and communications industry, I’ve also built successful businesses from the ground up, so I bring all this experience and knowledge to support the work of the full-time team at the Hospice.”

What would you say are the main challenges you’re currently facing?

“I would say the main challenges are the rising costs of delivering the service coupled with the fact that due to improved medicine and technology people are living longer but with more complex illnesses. This means that for both the adult and children’s hospice there’s an increased demand for the services we offer and for a longer period of time. As a team, we have to think of innovative ways of meeting this demand.”

How can businesses help?

“We welcome support from businesses, this can be a financial donation or for example a donation of products or services that we can raffle or auction to raise funds or surplus stock to sell in our shops. It can also be allowing staff time to volunteer or take part in our fundraising events.”

How can individuals support the hospice?

“Anyone can get involved, whether it’s a one-off fundraiser, a donation, volunteering or regular contributions it all helps. We have shops in Grimsby, Immingham and Hull where you can donate or buy clothes, toys etc… a lottery which you can take part in and even, wedding favours, so there’s plenty of ways people can be involved.”

Why is this support important?

“There are currently around 49,000 children in the UK living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, and that number is growing. St Andrew’s and Andy’s provide a range of practical and emotional care for these people and their families but its’ not cheap to facilitate. It costs £5.5 million a year to run and only 18% of that is funded, the rest relies on the generosity of the public. We’ve been really lucky with the support we’ve had over the years but need to keep that momentum up to provide for existing and future service users.”

Anything else you’d like to say?

“Yes, I think it’s important to support your community and I hope that I lead by example for my team at First Media, we all lead busy lives and work can dominate at times, but we should all remember to make time for other things that are important. For me, the hospice is something I will always make time for.”

For more information or to get involved, please visit St Andrews website.

Launch the St Andrews website