French Plaits, Frozen Toes and First Signs of Spring! My mission is for all of our business supporters to have an insight into life here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Throughout 2016, my blogs were about my experiences at the Hospice as we reached out to more corporate supporters to raise awareness of the great work happening here. This year, my mission remains the same, but my blogs are going to give an insight into corporate social responsibility practices, and what they really mean to the local community. Having said that, there are a few experiences from the last few months of working at the Hospice which I want to share, so bear with me while I digress for a moment. “Can anyone do a French plait?” I was walking through our Inpatient Unit last week when I heard this call from a nurse. I know we pride ourselves on making sure we do everything we can to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible, from specialist medical care to holistic needs, but hearing it so loud and clear like that made me stop in my tracks. I couldn’t help, a simple plait is the extent of my skills, but the reminder that our nurses are making a difference 24/7 was heart-warming. The Unexpected Meeting in the Park On the day of our Rugby Ramble (a 10 mile sponsored walk from the Hospice to Moseley RFC to watch the England v Wales Six Nations match) I had two roles, to make sure everyone had a cuppa before they left the Hospice for their 10 mile walk, and to be a marshall at two points on the route. I was volunteering with Christina, a doctor at the Hospice (she recently wrote a blog too). The day was so cold, it was actually snowing and sleeting! By the second point on the route the cold was really starting to bite. I couldn’t feel my toes in my right foot. A gentleman and his Chihuahua (very cute and looked as cold as I felt) approached me in the park to ask about the event and to tell me that the Hospice had cared for his wife. He wasn’t taking part in the walk and by chance he was in the park waiting to meet a friend. Remembering that the Hospice cares for local people, and you are never far from someone who has been supported by the Hospice was all I needed to focus on the walkers and cheer them on. This super pink A-team came second in the walk, they had to march on for the whole 10 miles! Signs of Spring As the days are getting slightly longer the garden is becoming more regularly occupied by visitors to the Hospice. Our office window looks over the garden, so we can see what is happening. A few weeks ago a patient was out there in her bed, soaking up the blue sky. This week there has been a young family out there jumping and dancing. Tinged with sadness, it is nice to see the gardens occupied. So, back to corporate social responsibility practices and what they mean to our local community. Forget Me Not – corporate social responsibility in our city The Brindleyplace management team are kindly hosting our beautiful installation of forget-me-not flowers. This inspiring memorial will be an opportunity for the whole community to celebrate and pay tribute to loved ones no longer with us. For a suggested donation, people can have their own individual wrought iron forget-me-nots made by the British Ironwork Centre planted in a stunning floral display, and then take them home to keep. Why is this a good demonstration of corporate social responsibility? The Brindleyplace management team understand that the beautifully maintained city central estate has the power to give charities the chance to raise funds and awareness. They also put resources into working closely with charities to create great events which become central to the chosen charities’ fundraising year. And this is so important, to genuinely have a partnership between a company and a charity, the company needs to give a little resource to make the most of the partnership and reap mutually beneficial rewards. In this case, the Brindleyplace management team are not just giving Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice the chance to raise funds and awareness, they are providing the opportunity for our local community to take time out, remember loved ones in a beautifully maintained space. This is a contribution to social responsibility in itself. As I write this, the Forget Me Not display isn’t in place yet, but I anticipate goosebumps when I get a first glimpse. Brindleyplace are also joined by DAC Beachcroft who have committed to corporate social responsibility by sponsoring this campaign. Thank you to all at DAC Beachcroft! The display will be planted between Monday 24th April and Monday 1st May 2017. It’s not too late for your business to become involved with our Forget Me Not Appeal, just get in touch with me!