St Catherine’s Hospice and Runshaw College have come together to formalise their relationship through the signing of an official memorandum – strengthening their partnership whilst celebrating the benefits it creates for patients and students.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aims to build on the existing successful relationship and the meaningful work already developed between the Lostock Hall charity and the Leyland college.

Speaking at the launch event for the MOU, Lynn Kelly, director of knowledge and technical at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “Launching this Memorandum of Understanding signifies a new beginning for our partnership with Runshaw College, whilst at the same time strengthening the links between us.

“We have worked with Runshaw on a number of projects in recent years, and the MOU acts to formalise this partnership and enable us to work more closely together in the future.”

Highlights of the partnership so far have included market research with college students conducted by the hospice’s communications team to help them devise a volunteer recruitment campaign targeting young people; and a ‘Day in the Life of St Catherine’s Hospice’ session which was attended by 90 medical students who heard from a doctor, physiotherapist, nurse, and catering staff about their work.

Volunteering and work placements have also taken place at the hospice, in the charity’s shops and at The Mill café, while Runshaw’s IT students are currently working to create a digital patient guide to the hospice in-patient unit.

Lynn added: “There is a lot more to come which will be mutually beneficial. We get a huge amount out of engaging with young people, and it’s important for us to provide students with meaningful opportunities to get the most out of their education.

“We’re so grateful for the support given to St Catherine’s by Runshaw in a variety of ways so far, and we’re looking forward to exploring new avenues to use each other’s strengths and expertise to help us continue providing high quality palliative and end-of-life care, whilst contributing to the development of the staff, volunteers, fundraisers and supporters of our future.”

Clare Russell, deputy principal of Runshaw College added: “These links have existed for some time in a range of areas such as catering, trading, and health and social care. Establishing this relationship through the MOU allows us to explore more opportunities going forward – in education, training, and research through apprenticeships, guest speakers and visits, live assignment briefs and more.

“On-going projects are taking place with computer science students, as well as within visual arts, business, and performing arts. We believe that this range of forward-thinking and innovative work creates a very effective partnership which benefits students and patients alike.”

Simon Partington, principal of Runshaw College, said he was ‘delighted’ to be working in such close cooperation with the hospice, adding: “St Catherine’s is such a highly-respected and important part of our community. We’ve been able to establish links which are beneficial to all involved, making this a fantastic example of a win/win partnership which can influence real change.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive at St Catherine’s Hospice, concluded: “St Catherine’s Hospice was inspired by, and continues to be driven by local people, for local people. The signing of the MOU with Runshaw College demonstrates our on-going commitment to work closely with our communities, engaging with creative young minds to discover new and inspiring ways to care for those who need our help, whilst sharing our knowledge and expertise to help nurture and develop the next generation.”