The Mill celebrates a year in business!

The Mill, St Catherine’s Park is celebrating its first successful year in business!

The Mill first opened its doors to the public exactly a year ago on November 24 2015, when the first cup of coffee was brewed by Good Morning Britain star and TV broadcaster Ranvir Singh.

Since then The Mill has welcomed around 60,000 visitors to enjoy a drink or a meal in the café or activities and therapies in the rooms upstairs.

The Mill birthday cake 3

To mark their special birthday, each customer to the café this week will receive a raffle ticket giving them the chance of winning a fabulous birthday cake handcrafted by The Mill’s patisserie chef Tony Culliney.

The pioneering concept of The Mill is to open up hospice care by welcoming local people into the heart of the St Catherine’s setting.  The cosy café, therapy and meeting rooms create inviting, familiar, relaxing surroundings to support people with life-shortening illnesses through information and advice and, at the same time, are a welcoming space for local people to enjoy.

With the opening of The Mill and the development of St Catherine’s Park, in partnership with South Ribble Borough Council, the message to local people is one of ‘welcome’, with the aim that the fear or anxiety some people feel about hospices can be dispelled.

Operating as a social enterprise with all profits used to support the specialised care of St Catherine’s Hospice the venture is helping to make the charity more sustainable for the future.

The Mill Outside has also gone from strength to strength in 2015, providing the catering for a wide variety of functions and events out in the community, including the prestigious Royal Lancashire Show. They have smashed their target in the hospice’s 30th anniversary Give a Gift appeal of catering for 30 events – with 41 catered for so far.

Nicola Hanmer, Commercial Catering Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice and The Mill, said: “It has been an incredible first year at The Mill and we’d like to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful customers who have supported the new venture and helped get it off to a flying start.

“It is wonderful that not only have the wider community embraced what we are offering here, but that St Catherine’s patients and their families are finding it so beneficial too. We know that many people enjoy being able to come away from the main hospice and enjoy time together as a family in the café.  It creates that all important feeling of normality, which families tell us means such a lot.”

The Mill team celebrate a year in business

Along with the locally sourced, seasonal dishes served up in the successful café, over the past year The Mill has also established itself as a vibrant community hub, with all sorts of events and activities organised on a regular basis from the upstairs rooms.

Sessions include everything from exercise classes like pilates and yoga, to advice workshops and drop-ins hosted by organisations including Civil Service Local, Lancashire Dementia Voices and Barclays Digital Eagles.

Local businesses are also utilising the space available – with rooms upstairs hired on a long-term arrangement by The Therapy Company and Feet Matters to offer a range of treatments including counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, massage and podiatry and chiropody.

Lynn Kelly, Director of Knowledge Exchange Services at St Catherine’s Hospice and The Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months The Mill has gone from strength to strength, setting itself up as an attractive community venue which has hosted everything IT skills workshops and solicitors’ drop-in sessions to watercolour classes and meditation.

“The Mill is benefiting people on many levels and we’re delighted to be reaching out to more people in our community when they pass through the doors.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, Chief Executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, thanked everyone for their support of The Mill during its first year in business, one of the many ways the community has given its wonderful backing to the charity during its 30th anniversary year in 2015.

Stephen said: “Opening The Mill last year started an exciting new chapter for St Catherine’s and we have been overwhelmed by the fabulous response from local people who have poured into our café and appreciated our other facilities.

“We warmly welcome visitors from near and far to become part of the inspiring St Catherine’s story, making a real difference to local lives at the most poignant times.  Every cup of coffee sold helps friends and neighbours at times when it matters most.”

The Mill, St Catherine’s Park Timeline

2008: The old farm buildings were purchased by St Catherine’s

2009/2010: Scoping study with the local community highlighted options for development.

2011/12 The Mill concept emerged and a comprehensive funding bid was submitted into a highly competitive Department of Health capital fund as well as to other trusts; design work continued.

2013: St Catherine’s won sufficient funds to start the project and in November work begins.

24th November 2014: The Mill opens to the public.

The Mill, St Catherine’s Park: A year in business fact-file

  • 60,000 visitors to The Mill
  • 43,800 cups of St Catherine’s Blend coffee served
  • 386 events hosted in The Mill
  • 41 outside events catered for
  • 73 events booked for 2016.

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