‘Demand for hospice care continues to rise rapidly’

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I’m Esther Preston, 39, director of fundraising and marketing for Ashgate Hospicecare in Chesterfield. I have lived in the town for the last four years.

I am passionate about hospice care and determined to grow support for Ashgate Hospicecare to ensure the people of North Derbyshire have access to hospice services when they need them.

Ashgate Hospicecare was set up 30 years ago and now employs 330 staff, mostly health and social care professionals, and has 800 volunteers.

1. What has been the highlight for your organisation over the past year?

The highlight for our organisation last year was the way we responded to the 12 per cent increase in referrals at the same time as improving our response times, particularly with our specialist nurses and counselling services.

2. What are your future plans?

We already have 24/7 care at the hospice and now aspire to provide a 24/7 service to people in their own homes which means employing more front-line staff.

We are actively championing apprenticeships and education is a big part of our overall strategy.

Demand for hospice care continues to rise rapidly, so we are always looking at how we can be more responsive.

Our hospice is 30 this year which means many parts of the building need renovating and modernising. New equipment is now available to make our environment better for patients.

4. How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential investor?

Chester-field has a fantastic community spirit and is an attractive place to live or visit as the people are so friendly and helpful.

Coming from Essex, I really notice the difference in how much people care about the other people in their local area.

5. Which development do you think will most benefit the town?

I think the Peak Resort development will be a very positive addition to the town and will increase tourism for Chesterfield.

It will also provide additional jobs and business opportunities which will greatly improve the economy.