The High Street retail sector continues to face extremely challenging conditions and I’m amazed how, amongst all
their existing problems, so many local shops and outlets still allow us to keep collection boxes on their premises.
They clutter up the counters and are an ever-present target for theft by reptilian bandits.
Nonetheless, our retailers continue to oblige us and it is a really useful source of regular income. This year, we raised £1841 and, as ever, we remain eternally grateful to both them and, of course, those who kindly donate their change.
Many thanks to Percy and his team, for their enormous support throughout the year. Well done and our grateful thanks to everyone who kindly houses our boxes and helps raise vital funds.
The boxes continue to provide a useful income to the Charity and, this year, we’ve noticed how some organisations have generously held them for one- off events and produced a good sum. For example; Wellesbourne W.I. raised over £97 and Strutt & Parker, Moreton-in-Marsh charged for clerical and photcopying costs which raised £85.
Far from being a concern, the problem of old pound coins has actually worked in our favour – many people don’t have the time to exchange them at a Bank, they end up in the collection boxes and are most welcome. I’d therefore ask everybody to keep putting them in as and when they discover any down the back of chairs or glove compartments. It doesn’t matter how battered and tarnished they may be: a pound is a pound!
As always, I’m grateful to those who’ve assisted me over the last year – Jo Sweby, Fudge Ramsay and Ian McConnel – and, of course, the numerous retail outlets who continue to hold the boxes on our behalf.
There are some 75 boxes currently in circulation, so mentioning every outlet by name is not practical, nonetheless the total for the year was some £1,400 – a great effort.
It’s also worth noting that, other than the cost of replacing ring seals (approx. £10 p.a.), every penny from the boxes goes directly to the Charity.
The community gives generously through our collection boxes
Every year, our dear leader, Rebecca, summons a report on the collection boxes and, with every year, the subject becomes increasingly exhausted: what else can one write about a plastic box of coins?
2017 heralded the removal from circulation of all the old £1 coins and there was a moment of panic when no-one seemed to know if the banks would still exchange them after October 31st. It was also highly likely that these coins, lurking in sofas, trousers and car footwells, would probably end up in charity boxes after this date, and this has certainly proved to be the case. Fortunately, the banks will still accept them but, unfortunately, there are few banks left and those that remain have adopted a peculiar policy of only taking £20 at a time. Thankfully, we have a number of excellent local retailers who’ll exchange coins and we increasingly rely on them as an informal banking service.
This works well, or, at least did so until the local “market” became flooded with coinage when my brother had the same idea with £4,000’s worth from the November Poppy Appeal!
On a positive note, the boxes continue to provide a useful and constant income stream and, as always, I’m eternally grateful to my helpers, Louise Sewell, Fudge Ramsay, Ian McConnel and Jo Sweby for checking and emptying these. Above all, it’s the outlets and retailers who deserve greatest thanks: without them, none of it would be possible.
The grand total raised for the year is £2174.
Trying to present an eye-catching piece on Charity collection boxes is like writing an essay on what a pea tastes of. Difficult. Equally awkward is what people think of trying to say when I’m introduced as “He who looks after the collection boxes”. There’s really not many scintillating facts which can be raised on the subject.
“Trickiest incident?”…..Dealing with a box full of coppers and ancient beer slops – the chemical reaction converts it into varnish, requiring a hammer to sort out.
“Most tedious aspect?”…..Opening a box filled to capacity with coppers only and immediately knowing the result – £14.50. It’s always this amount. Worse still, knowing that one will be sorting some of the exact same pennies a year hence.
“Worst incident?”……Leaving my un- handbraked car to roll into a wooden bench at The Howard Arms. Cost of bench:- £300. Amount in collection box:- £3.30.
“Most laughable occasion?”…..Being given a bread basket full of unwanted coppers collected over two years by The Royal Oak, Whatcote: the over-loaded basket split open in the very dark car park. Mayhem!
Irritating that these seem, I am ever mindful of the real chore it can be for all the kind retailers who hold boxes for us all year round: they take up valuable counter space, have to be guarded, are awkward to clean around and are sometimes just in the way. Yet our shop-keepers, publicans and others never complain. They are the ones, without whom, the continued success of the boxes would end. Compared with their inconvenience, the occasional mishaps that visit the collectors – Fudge Ramsay, Jo Sweby, Ian McConnel and myself pale into insignificance.
A huge thank you to Percy and his team, for their time and enormous support throughout the year, dealing with counting the cash and raising the most amazing total of £1,915 from all the Collection Boxes in our local businesses. Well done and many thanks to everyone who kindly houses our boxes and helps raise funds..
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We have been living in hugely different times which are likely to continue and possibly change for at least the immediate future as every attempt is made to manage and mitigate the spread of the current pandemic.
I count myself lucky and privileged as a key worker to have the chance to get out regularly to go to work in hospital, being allowed to continue to treat patients albeit in very altered circumstances.
The Charity has had to adapt to a new and evolving landscape with meetings carried out virtually through video links and for a period of time our support staff working from their own homes, and the nurses have the added challenge of coping with uncomfortable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) when visiting patients.
It is a great credit to the nursing team led by Gemma Roberts that they have continued to deliver care at home during this crisis, well supported by our management team who have developed policies and sourced adequate PPE to ensure the safety of patients and our staff.
During recent months, the number of patients looked after and dying at home has increased compared to last year, and since April all patients in our care, have died in their own homes. It remains to be seen if this trend continues when normal services try to restore in hospitals and General Practice. Our aim, as always is to meet this continued demand with the high quality support patients and carers deserve.
As a result, of the social distanced lives we now lead, income from community events and associated local fundraising has all but ceased as events are either cancelled or postponed. This is most obviously demonstrated by the postponement of the Circus Ball which was due to take place in June. Not only is this a loss of much needed regular income but also missed opportunities to publicise and promote our services. We have been fortunate however to receive some financial support from Government via Hospice UK plus several very generous local bequests and donations for which we are profoundly grateful. Our investments have, as you might expect, suffered in the global economic downturn but there is some confidence from fund managers that these will recover in the medium term to pre-Covid levels
For the future, to maintain sustainable income and the current level of service we offer, we are exploring additional sources of funding including grants from trusts, legacies, increased regular giving and online donations through JustGiving, Virgin Money and several other sites all of which can be viewed at www.shipstonhomenursing.co.uk/donate/
Our website and the regular email communications we send out will keep you updated on our plans for reactivating local events, when it is possible to do so.
Finally, June 2020 was a significant date in our calendar with the retirement from the Board of Trustees of one of its founder members, Charlie Wells. Charlie has been an ever present source of inspiration and commitment to us and contributed to many roles, using her nursing and caring background for the benefit of the Charity and of course, the patients. We all owe Charlie a deep debt of gratitude and we will endeavour to continue to deliver her original ambition to give the best possible care to our patients.
Chairman of Trustees