Local hospice gets everybody talking at International Women’s Day events

Ashgate Hospicecare, in Old Brampton, Chesterfield, held a jam-packed day of events for staff and volunteers on Friday 8th March in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The day included a visit from the Be Cancer Safe team, whose campaign is encouraging men and women alike to start conversations about cancer and how to look for the signs and symptoms of different types of cancer. They got staff and volunteers feeling dummies with cancerous lumps with the aim of teaching everyone how to regularly check for signs of cancer. In tribute to Loose Women, Hospice staff hosted a ‘Loose Lips’ session. For one hour, a light-hearted conversation around all things female, including coping with menstruation and menopause, was fuelled, with lots of laughs in between. There was a talk about the importance of having a smear test, as well as yoga, mindfulness and well-being sessions, and complementary therapies for all.


Paul Whitehouse, Head of Learning and Organisation Development, said, “We’ve never held a full day of events for International Women’s Day before, and this was something that my team and I were really keen to do. Not only did we want to let everyone know that Ashgate Hospicecare is a workplace that values gender equality and diversity, we wanted everybody in the organisation, no matter what their gender, to feel they can speak openly about their well-being and issues affecting their life.

We are particularly grateful to the ladies from Be Cancer Safe for coming in to encourage us all to think about the signs of cancer and to not be afraid to speak to our loved ones about it. As a Hospice that cares for many patients with cancer, we’d like to be at the forefront of education around cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, actively encouraging our staff and volunteers to keep themselves and their loved ones as safe and informed as possible and to visit the doctor if they notice any unusual changes in their body.”

The events were well attended throughout the day. Diane Knowles, who volunteers in the Ashgate Hospicecare shop in Chesterfield town centre attended some of the day’s events. She said, “It was a wonderful day! It was really nice that staff and volunteers were able to come together and share some of the challenges that women face, such as menopause, and to talk about our different experiences. It was an uplifting day and I’m already looking forward to next year’s events.”

Julie Watson, Learning and Organisation Development Facilitator said, “I was overwhelmed with how popular the events were. I’m hoping that everybody went away having learnt something new and that both men and women within the organisation will feel empowered to talk about issues affecting them and will also have the knowledge to look after themselves and each other.

We’re really pleased that the retail teams also got involved in celebrating International Women’s Day by creating purple window displays and spreading the word to staff, volunteers and customers.”

Overall, the day was a great success. Staff and volunteers have written their pledges and hopes relating to International Women’s Day on a ‘Pledge Wall’ and hope to make the events even bigger and better in 2020!

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