Published Friday 30th June 2023



St Michael’s is proud of what it has achieved in its first 40 years and how it has responded to the various challenges along the way.  The Hospice want everyone in Herefordshire and the surrounding areas to have access to the very best palliative care and support at the time and the place they need it, a need that will only increase over time. The service is provided by our inpatient and outpatient units at Bartestree and Hospice at Home service throughout the County.  We also educate and look to inspire other health and social care professionals to improve the delivery and quality of palliative care in all the settings where patients might find themselves.

The continuing challenge for St Michael’s is to raise enough money to support these services. Despite continually finding ways to innovate and be more efficient, the growing need for our services and cost inflation are increasing the income required year on year. Our funds come from a variety of sources, but all come from the Herefordshire community, which is a tremendous supporter of St Michael’s, not just in providing us with donations but also with their volunteering. We will never take this for granted.

The contribution from our retail sites is a major part of our fundraising. Most of our retail sites are occupied through leases. The Whitestone site gives us the opportunity to purchase a freehold that will provide long term security. The termination of the lease at our very popular site at Holmer Road, with the loss of a material amount of income, is a good demonstration of the tenuous nature of leases.

The Whitestone site is an opportunity for St Michael’s to create something special that will allow us to raise the funds needed now and in the future to provide the palliative care the people of Herefordshire need and deserve.

Funding the Purchase and Use of Reserves 

St Michael’s holds cash reserves for two main reasons. It gives us protection that can be drawn on to cover any downturn in revenue or unforeseen occurrence.  It also allows us to invest for the future such as in this case. 

The charity is working with the vendor to carry out all the due diligence and surveys that are necessary for the purchase of a building such as this.

How we intend to use the Site 

This site will focus on second-hand and upcycled furniture.  With its space and easy access for delivery and collection it is ideal for the sale of large furniture and bulky items.  Currently none of the Hospice units are large enough to store or work on furniture requiring repairs. The vision is to have a team of volunteers and staff who have the skills to give items a new lease of life, preventing them going to landfill. This will also retain some of the heritage of the I & JL Brown site where, for many years, they have made and restored furniture on site. Furniture upcycling and textile recycling will be a priority, with techniques such as rug ragging and sewing to make decorative items from unwanted fabric.  

Waste management agencies will also be approached to see if further recycling opportunities can be encouraged across the county. Projects will be set up working with different organisations to offer volunteering opportunities and the opportunity to learn a new skill. St Michael’s Hospice already works with people with disabilities from National Star and many schools and colleges across the region.  

There would also be traditional items for sale that typically get donated to the Hospice, such as clothing, bric-a-brac, books and toys. A small proportion of new goods, in particular seasonal items, will also be offered. Key messaging will be around sustainability and affordability. 

The offices and training rooms already in situ will provide offices for staff working within this site, as well as spaces for meetings and training. The aim will be to move the Online Trading and Fleet and Logistics departments over to this site, saving costs from leasing other premises. In the future, this site could also help free up space in The Hospice building in Bartestree, so as demand grows for more care services, we can create more outpatient and treatment rooms at Bartestree from vacated offices. The new site will allow us to increase our training and education programme for nursing homes, GPs and other care providers.  Increasing this capacity would be a significant benefit associated with taking on the Whitestone building. 

On the ground floor there will be a Donation Centre open 7 days per week, to accept people’s used items. These will be quality pre-loved items or goods that require upcycling. Last year alone our shops prevented over 500 tonnes of items going to landfill. We are confident this figure will increase with this proposed new site. It will also house a warehouse, sorting and distribution centre to serve all shops and the online trading operation.  

Timescales for using the Site 

The site does require St Michael’s to submit a planning application to change the use of the building.  This is a huge project and the timescales involved will depend on how quickly we can get the planning approval.  

The business proposal presented to the Board of Trustees recommended a start date of 1 April 2024 for the retail operation. There may be scope to use the building earlier for retail trade, but it will depend on a number of factors, and we do not want to compromise on the quality of this site. For example, we may consider a Christmas pop-up shop, even if the site is not fully operational, to maximise on increased trade over the Christmas period and introduce the concept of the store to the public to build excitement and momentum ready for the opening. 

Summary of Benefits of acquiring the Site:

  • It will create vital income generation so that The Hospice can continue offering care and support free-of-charge to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. Last year alone the Hospice supported over 2,200 people across Herefordshire and the surrounding areas. This is only made possible due to the charity’s retail income and community support through fundraising. 
  • The St Michael’s Hospice Holmer Road Home and Living Store is closing at the end of 2023 due to the lease being terminated by the landlord.
  • For the community it will be an exciting new place to visit for recycling unwanted goods or for affordable shopping. Having an owned rather than leased site will reduce the risk in the future of losing retail sites, which the Hospice relies upon to support those during the end of life. 
  • The site will champion recycling and upcycling, helping to protect the planet with less items going to landfill each year. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important topic and St Michael’s will lead the way in raising the profile of recycling and upcycling in Herefordshire.  
  • Through the upcycling centre people across Herefordshire will be learning new skills and habits.  
  • The site will create in excess of 20 job opportunities and 50 plus volunteer roles.   
  • It will give people in the community the opportunity to learn more about St Michael’s Hospice, should they or someone they know ever need help. 
  • It will allow St Michael’s to promote awareness of our services as well as share our expertise with other Herefordshire Care Providers thereby improving the care for residents with terminal conditions, without putting additional pressure on the Bartestree site or NHS. 

Any further questions or comments on this project should in the first instance be directed to Rachel Jones, Income Generation, Marketing and Communications Director on  

The planning application can be viewed by clicking here