Kate Heaps, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice’s (GBCH) CEO was named Most Supportive Chief Executive by the Charity Retail Association at their recent awards ceremony. The annual event, which took place in Nottingham on 9 September recognises outstanding contribution and achievement by charity teams and individuals.
In recent years, the Hospice had seen a decline in income in its charity shops. It was thanks to Kate’s vision to progress developments in this area of the business and positioning the Hospice as an ambassador in the heart of the community, coupled with her deep understanding of the value that retail brings to the organisation, that enabled the transformation of retail operations.
Not only has she been credited with initiating change, but Kate has also been praised for her unwavering support of the team throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic; all this has resulted in reversing retail’s position and immersing it in the Hospice’s overall project of recovery and transformation.
Kate said: ‘With only around one third of our income coming from statutory sources, our hospice retail operation is a cornerstone of our charitable income generation which contributes to our vital work of caring for local people approaching the end of life in Greenwich and Bexley.
The added bonus is that our shops help us towards meeting our sustainability agenda, finding pre-loved items new homes, repurposing items into new things that our customers want and recycling any goods we can’t sell to prevent items going into landfill.
The committed retail team are all amazing, they are a really important part of our organization and have had such a tough year with repeated lockdowns and furlough, but they came back and have adapted to new ways of working and continued to come up with new ideas to raise funds; it’s a privilege to have them in the hospice team, and the nomination, let alone the award was such a lovely surprise!’
Some of the most notable achievements which helped to drive change and led to a turnaround in fortunes include: championing a business case for change and support at Board level; working with Trustees to deliver a governance review; driving the appointment of key personnel (including a Director of Income Generation and Head of Retail); and promoting a wellbeing agenda for retail staff, during the pandemic.
Kate is also a keen champion of RePurpose, the Hospice’s upcycling project that promotes sustainability, and offers opportunities to local people to develop new skills. She is a compassionate leader who knows every one of the 16 shop managers, deputies and drivers by name.
About Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice:
- Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice is a local charity dedicated to providing free, high-quality palliative care and support to local people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, their families and professional carers.
- They are a leading provider of specialist palliative care, support and education in the two boroughs and have been rooted in the community for over 25 years.
- Patients can access services through the Hospice at Home service, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Woolwich), 19-bed inpatient unit in Abbey Wood, and in community care homes.
- Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice supports patient wellbeing and provides physical, emotional, social, spiritual and psychological care and guidance to support individuals to be prepared, without fear or anxiety and to live independently for as long as possible. Care extends to the loved ones and carers of the patient.
- The Hospice relies on retail sales, fundraising and donations to deliver its vital work in the community and to lead the way in clinical practice and so continues to drive forward the development of positive partnerships with a wide range of supporters within the community.
- The Hospice aims to raise £5 million every year and run fundraising events throughout the year
- Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice has 16 retail stores across the two boroughs
- RePurpose items can be purchased via the Etsy and Ebay Search for RePurposeGBCH (Etsy) or visit www.communityhospice.org.uk/shoponline