Next year will see our 20th Anniversary; a real milestone in our history, and I would just like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful supporters for everything they have done for us during 2018 and the preceding years.
It is true to say that our community built Willow Wood. A team of committed volunteers came together in 1993 with the dream of raising funds to provide a Hospice for the people of Tameside and Glossop. That dream was realised when our doors opened to admit our first patient on 5 May 1999, a very special day for us and for our community.
The need for fundraising didn’t stop there however. Back when we opened, estimated annual costs for Willow Wood were £750,000. This current financial year our running costs are over £2.5million, and that we continue to be at the pinnacle of Hospice care is due to the support of our community fundraisers. Without them, we would not be able to maintain and develop our services and continue to reach out to even more local people.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to our family of around 600 active volunteers. Without their time, their commitment, their skills, their love and their laughter, we would not be the wonderful place we are today.
There is not a single area within Willow Wood where we do not rely on our volunteers. From counselling to complementary therapies, from office administration to gardening, from our shops and distribution centre to patient drivers, our volunteers are at the heart of all we do. Indeed, if you visit Willow Wood the first face you see will be a volunteer as they man our reception desk, 12 hours a day, 365 days a year.
I would also like to pay tribute to every staff member who has passed through our doors at any time during the past 19 years. You have all helped Willow Wood become what it is today, with your dedication, unflagging good humour and skills.
My thanks then once again, to each and every person who has supported Willow Wood in any way, during this or any previous year. Whether you have bought a lottery ticket, or an item from one of our shops; whether you have run a marathon, had your head shaved, or taken part in one of our own fundraising events; or whether you are one of our wonderful volunteers, you are part of the Willow Wood community, and we feel truly blessed to have your support.