Background The Mill opened on 24 November 2014 as a café and community hub providing a reassuring and welcoming space for families and patients, an information and signposting service through volunteers, opportunities for income generation through room hire plus diversional activities such as light exercise classes, crafts and talking therapies.
Aims To serve the whole population by encouraging and empowering people to help each other. To demystify hospice care. To develop sustainable income streams through commercial and community involvement.
Methods New volunteer positions: Café Assistant table service and Advisor Service for signposting, information and basic emotional support. Autumn 2015 – core café opening hours set at 9 am to 5 pm following pilots for breakfast and evening trade. Room hire – two upstairs rooms hired out on long term let plus one larger room for ad hoc bookings (light exercise classes, business meetings, special occasions e.g., wakes, christenings, and birthdays). The Mill Outside – outside catering service started summer 2015; attends country shows, special occasions and hospice events. Special Christmas events e.g., themed afternoon tea, party bookings, tea with Father Christmas from 2015. Patient education programme, STREAM, for cancer related fatigue – open to non-hospice patients – started March 2016. Introduced monthly evening theme nights in May 2016 – Tapas, French, Seafood, World Curry.
Results Include Since opening in Nov 2014 to end of the last financial year: Percentage increase in income and visitors per day: café sales by 88%; donations via The Mill to the hospice by 167%; visitors to the café by 61%. Advisors support as many people that are not known to the hospice as are known. Patient outcomes for STREAM programme using the Chalder Fatigue Scale – 86% felt their fatigue had improved. Promotional competition for afternoon tea vouchers reaches 79 000 people.
The Future Plans for The Mill Phase 2 include expansion of the café to provide extra seating at busy times, two additional function rooms and increased trading opportunities.
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