Almost 40 years ago, a group of pioneers realised that local people in the catchment areas of our hospice weren’t getting the expert care they needed when they were dying. Instead of ignoring this, they acted and raised the money to build a new hospice – St Catherine’s Hospice. Since then, we’ve cared for thousands of people and supported those closest to them, when life comes full circle.
But, 40 years is a long time. Now, in a year when we’ve had more referrals than ever before, we’ve invested in changing the look and feel of our charity. We did this because research* has shown that people just don’t know who we are, or how our expert services can help them. At a time when the NHS is stretched, the population is aging and people need us most, our community simply don’t realise the ways we can help.
They don’t realise we can help them navigate a larger healthcare system, where they can often feel lost and overwhelmed, that we can offer expert physical and emotional care, and that we can help make life less difficult as they cope with a terminal illness. This lack of awareness also impacts our fundraising; all our care is free thanks to the generosity of our local community but if people don’t know we exist how can they support us?
Too often our good work is mistaken for the work of others. We see it everyday; whether it’s another healthcare professional or a national charity that we’re mistaken for isn’t the thing that really matters. It’s the fact that if people continue to mistake us for someone else, we’ll never receive the full support we deserve. Put simply, for St Catherine’s something had to change.
As we move forward, we’ve had to face the fact that it’s unlikely we’ll get more money from the NHS, so we’ve followed in the footsteps of our founders and made the brave decision to rebrand – to start again. We’ve overhauled everything from our logo and tone of voice through to our patient materials, and website. Our old brand didn’t drive us forward and we owe it to our founders and our community to make sure we’re in the best position to respond to the ever increasing need for our care.
By investing in a new brand, we’ve future proofed ourselves. We’ve created a look that we’re confident will help us stand out in the competitive healthcare industry for many years to come, and we’ve agreed on values that we’ll be proud to be known for, for the next 40 years and beyond. Ultimately, all our changes boil down to one thing; letting local people know that we’ll be there.
We’ll be clear with our community about our needs to raise even more funds. We need them to understand and value what we do, donate, and take part in our events because without their help, we will not be able to reach more people coping with death and dying. Our new brand is the first step in inspiring their support so we can be there when life comes full circle.
Life coming full circle is a theme that we’ll draw on throughout our branding. Like many of you, we want to be upfront and courageous when talking about death and dying, however we want to do this in a way that doesn’t alienate the people we care for, or frighten people who are referred to us in future.
We want to empower people to have conversations that will help them have the best death possible because as sure as we’re born, we’ll die, and just like people plan for a birth we want people to plan for a death.
At St Catherine’s, we want our local community to know that; we’ll be there, for an honest word in the early days and a strong shoulder in the hard ones, and that when life comes full circle, we will be there. It’s something I’m confident our brand achieves.
To see our brand in action please visit our website
*St Catherine’s Hospice commissioned Crossbow research to interview 816 people across West Sussex and East Surrey between 23 August and 12 September 2013 -12 per cent of the people interviewed could not give any answer, when asked: What do you think St Catherine’s does?
The new brand comes at a busy time for the hospice as it also announces a new organisational strategy and continues to progress its planning application for a new building in Pease Pottage. Earlier this year the hospice was rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.