As part of Hospice Care Week, the Bury Times goes behind the scenes at Bury Hospice to see what a typical day is like.

As Mike Crutchley found, no two days are the same. 

Eloise Burke, chief executive

Eloise Burke is a people person who has spent 30 years in nursing. She was appointed chief executive five months ago and reveals what it is like to be in the hospice hot seat.

Her nursing career taught her to expect the unexpected and in her role as chief executive, Mrs Burke quickly discovered that no two days are the same.

Demands can be placed on her from any direction and she has adopted a pragmatic approach to the role.

“Every week I touch base with senior managers, sometimes even if it’s in a huddle somewhere, so we can all communicate and prioritise for the week. Every fortnight, the senior management team meets and we go through everything thoroughly.

“We have brought in new people to strengthen the SMT and we look at structures and we are constantly looking at ways of improving and being more effective as an organisation.

“We have just had an office move to locate people in the right environment and with the right people for their work.”

One of the key tasks of the chief executive is to establish the hospice’s role in Bury and beyond.

Mrs Burke said: “Everything is underpinned with strategy. We have meetings with partners and must keep pace with changes in Bury and Greater Manchester as well.


“It is also about building relationships, such as with the mayor, who has made us his charity of the year.

“We must also engage with other hospices to look at the wider impact of end-of-life care and not be insular.

“I am a people person with an open-door policy and I am passionate about getting staff involved in decisions which affect them and are then made from the bottom up.

“I get out on to the floor once a day to talk to staff and find out about any problems or things we can do to help.”

Mrs Burke also believes the hospice must change its approach to the public.

“We must tell people what we do and what we do not do. There are many myths and fears about hospices and I am well placed to address those because of my clinical background.”


2019 Chief executive

2017 Acting general manager

2013 Head of clinical services

2005 Senior sister

2004 Day services team leader

Bury Times:

Neil Jones – Finance & Corporate Services Manager

Dealing with invoices and balancing the books is all in a day’s work for Neil Jones – but so is fixing the roof, building office furniture and moving IT equipment.

As well as the financial side, he oversees catering, housekeeping, maintenance and IT, all with one clear goal in mind – making sure every pound goes as far as possible towards patient care.

Mr Jones, who has been at the hospice for two years, said: “My challenge is trying to balance everything. Everything costs money, which we do not have a lot of, and we have to spend carefully.

“I want to direct as much of it as possible to giving the best care to patients and their families.”

With the range of Mr Jones’ responsibilities, it is hardly surprising that no two days are the same.

“With the recent office move, we could have got someone in to do it, but that money would be gone, so we have been lifting desks, rerouting IT – anything that helps to free up that money.”

One Saturday morning, storms caused a leak in the roof. Mr Jones and the caretaker quickly had everything mopped up and fixed the roof in no time.

“If I got someone in, all that money would not be going to patient care,” he said.

While the extreme demands of the role might put some people off, Mr Jones thrives on it.

He said: “I like the variety, but I like knowing that whatever I am doing is genuinely helping patient care. I was helping an outreach nurse with something, knowing that it would allow her to go into a patient’s home and give the best possible care.

“If there is an issue in a room with housekeeping, that becomes our priority and we make sure it is ready for the next patient.

“Every moment I spend here is helping patients.”

Bury Times:

Samantha Duncan – Retail & Volunteer Services Manager

Samantha Duncan has worked at the hospice eight years and is responsible for retail, the hospice lottery, and an army of volunteers – and knows first-hand about the excellent care the hospice provides.

The hospice costs £2.7 million a year to run and currently has eight shops, in addition to the pop-up discount shop and a new furniture outlet opening in Radcliffe. Retail brings in 28 per cent of the hospice’s total income.

One of the recent successes was the Brides of Bury wedding gown shop in the Mill Gate, which sells a range of high-quality donated items, most of them new.

Mrs Duncan said: “It has been a success and I am really proud of it. You really wouldn’t think it was a charity shop.”

In addition to staff, it is the army of almost 500 volunteers which help keep the hospice going, many of whom, like Mrs Duncan, have personal stories to tell.

Mrs Duncan, whose father was cared for in the hospice, said: “My mum volunteers in the kitchen and loves it. All of our volunteers are an integral part of what we do and each and every one of them, across every department, brings something special. We could not function without them.”

“Having worked here for a number of years, I always recognised the invaluable work our doctors and nurses do, but with dad, I saw it from the point of view of a daughter. When he died, the care he received was unbelievable. When you experience that, you want to give something back.”

“I just love the job I am doing and the incredible people I work with. “

The hospice lottery celebrates its 25th year this year. It has nearly 6,000 members who play each week with a chance of winning £1,000.

Mrs Duncan said: “The hospice lottery is an excellent income generator for us and players can make such a difference for only £1 a week.”

Bury Times:

Nicola Cheetham - Head of clinical services

Nicola Cheetham has taken on the role of head of clinical services after Eloise Burke’s promotion to chief executive and aims to deliver clinical services “in the community, for the community, about the community”.

Miss Cheetham’s background is in palliative care and her responsibilities since joining in July, 2018, include driving forward the outreach service, inpatient unit, and the day service.

One of her main duties is overseeing the continuation of the outreach pilot, which now has funding until March, 2020.

Miss Cheetham said: “The hospice is more than just a building. It is a philosophy of care. We are extending our care beyond the walls of the hospice and delivering services in people’s homes so that we can provide support earlier, through education, personal, practical and emotional support.

“This empowers people to understand their illness, to know what to expect and aims to reduce inappropriate hospital admissions and prevent crisis.

“The service not only focusses on the patient but also those closest to them. We offer situational respite to prevent carer breakdown. It is important that carers are relieved of their duties where possible even for short periods knowing that their loved one is being cared for.

“A unique aspect of the service is the role of our volunteer buddies who are trained to provide practical support and situational respite.

“Every person referred to the Outreach Service is offered a holistic assessment. We encourage patient and families to be involved every step of the way. Where appropriate we also signpost to other community services.

“What drives our services is our care and compassion and making a difference when it matters the most.”

Earlier this year, the hospice opened two further beds, taking the total to eight in the inpatient unit.

The ultimate goal is to have all 12 beds open, but Miss Cheetham said it requires sustainable funding to make this a reality.

She said: “The opening of the additional beds and introduction of the outreach service enables us to care for more people within the community.

“We will continue to make a difference for patients and their families when it matters most.”

Bury Times:

Rachel Wallace – Head of Marketing, Communications and Fundraising

Rachel is the newest member of the senior management team, having joined Bury Hospice three months ago. Rachel is passionate about partnerships, and this combined with her voracious appetite for news makes a great combination as she gets out and about across the community to raise the profile of Bury Hospice, forge new relationships and lead her team to bring in the essential money to fund the Hospice’s services.

Rachel started her career as a journalist, before moving into communications and fundraising, and has worked across a wide range of sectors including the BBC, local authorities, education as well as charities.

“I wanted variety in a role . . . and I have certainly got that at Bury Hospice! It’s a special place, I love hearing the stories from people who we have supported. To know that every partnership we make, every penny we bring in and every person we encourage to volunteer, really does make a difference to people’s lives is incredible.

“It’s a tall order to raise the amount of money we need to support Bury Hospice’s services, and success is down to our relationship with Bury’s community. We are a small team of fundraisers, so have to be savvy with our time and rely on our volunteers who are fantastic. We have almost 500 volunteers who donate more than 450,000 hours of their time, this in itself saves around £370,000 a year.

“For me it’s about profile; the more people who know about us and our role in the community, the more money we can bring in. It is that real – we need to raise £2.7m per year to plug the funding gap.

“My message is get involved! We have a fabulous range of fundraising activities – our Strictly Best foot Forward event brought in nearly £54,000 last year, and was literally fun every step of the way! This year we have the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury taking part and are loving it.

“Making us Charity of the Year is a great way to support us – the Mayor picked us to be one of his chosen charities and this support is priceless with the range of new networks he has introduced us to.

“We talk about having a Hospice heart here and corny as it sounds, my mission for the heart of Bury Hospice is for it to beat across Bury, so that we can not only sustain our essential services, but develop to meet the changing needs of our community.”