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Ashgate Hospice > A day in the life of… a hospice event fundraiser

Savannah Redhead has been working in the Fundraising Team at Ashgate Hospice for more than three years. She ensures events like our Sparkle Night Walk run like clockwork so patients and families can keep on receiving the hospice’s care. Here’s what she gets up to in a typical day… 

One of the best parts about being an Events Fundraiser at Ashgate is that every day is different. My days can vary a lot depending on what event I am planning, whether that’s the Sparkle Night Walk, the UK’s highest Skydive or a trek up Mount Snowdon. Sometimes it can be challenging working to tight deadlines and managing the unpredictability that comes from event planning, just look at what happened to events when the pandemic hit, but one thing is for sure, every day is incredibly rewarding. 

Knowing that what I do is helping to fund end of life care for families right across North Derbyshire gives me a deep sense of pride. I don’t think people realise that less than 30 per cent of our costs are funded from local health budgets, leaving us with a huge gap of £7 million to fill. It might sound like a huge mountain to climb and its one we only manage with the huge generosity of our local communities.  

Morning – catching up with our volunteers 

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been working from home, so my day typically starts by opening my laptop at around 8am – that’s after I’ve made my morning peppermint tea! I start the day by checking my schedule and prioritising the most important tasks. If we have a big event coming up, like next week’s Chesterfield 10K, that usually takes precedence! One of my main responsibilities is managing third-party events that we are involved in, which includes booking event dates, supporting recruiting participants, guiding people along their fundraising journey and helping on the event day as well.  

We’ve recently welcomed the return of our Sparkle Night Walk – Chesterfield’s biggest night of the year – and the event was such a huge success. It was so great to see 1,600 of our supporters back together again, all walking to support the hospice. That’s the best part of my job. After putting in a lot of time, effort, and energy into the planning of an event, seeing it come together is my favourite part of being an Events Fundraiser. There’s no better feeling than knowing how hard you have worked, and then seeing the smiles and enjoyment on participants and volunteers faces on event day. 

It’s a Friday morning, which is when one of our most enthusiastic volunteers usually calls for a catch up; it’s always lovely to hear how she’s doing and why she’s so passionate about supporting Ashgate.  I also take the time to check in with a few of our fundraisers who are embarking on different challenges to help raise vital funds towards our care. I catch up with Matt Otty, an ardent supporter of ours, to praise him for his efforts after completing his second London Marathon for the hospice. He’s even had a tattoo to represent and remember the fantastic fundraising he’s done to support the hospice in memory of his friend who died in our care. I’ve never known a supporter get a tattoo before! 

Afternoon – greeting fundraisers at the hospice 

After lunchtime, I head to the hospice as it’s my turn to greet some of our fundraisers in person and thank them for their generosity. I always like to catch up with our lovely volunteers who help out on reception before starting my shift – they do such an incredible job and we’re all so grateful to them for giving up their time. 

My afternoon involves greeting fundraisers, speaking to them about what they’ve done to support the hospice and sometimes having our photograph taken outside reception. I like to take the time to individually thank our supporters who continually surprise me with their commitment to supporting Ashgate. As a fundraising team, we need to fund £4.3m of our care each year, so the support of our fundraisers is absolutely vital to us.  

I was delighted to welcome a lovely lady that had taken on her very own Virtual Sparkle challenge in her village and had got a variety of people of all ages involved. It was so nice to hear about the fun that they had dancing around the village, all whilst going the distance and raising funds for Ashgate. I thanked her, accepted her donations and told her just how grateful we all our for her support – we really do have some amazing supporters! 

Evening – time to head home 

It’s 4pm but before I finish for the day, I always check my schedule for the following week and add in any new and additional tasks that I need to complete when I’m back at work on Monday.
Before logging off, I double check with my team that they don’t need me to help with anything; we’re a very tight-knit group and I always find that working collaboratively can often be much more efficient and help get jobs done. 

The most challenging part of my job is sticking to my working hours. As I’m so passionate about what I do and want to help generate as much money for Ashgate as possible, I sometimes find myself finishing work much later than I should! Members of my family have been cared for by Ashgate so I know how important the services are for families, which drives me to do everything I can to motivate others to fundraise for us.  

Without sounding too cliché – and even though I’ve been working from home since March last year – Ashgate feels like my second home. The Fundraising Team are a lovely bunch of people to work alongside, and I feel like we really go above and beyond as a team, to ensure that we raise the necessary funds so we can continue to provide care to those that need it most. I’m very proud to work alongside them all and seeing our hard work turn into funding for the hospice is what inspires me to keep on going!