In the latest instalment of ProfileTree’s award-winning Business Leader series, we sit down with Cancer Fund for Children’s Joan Burden to discuss hospitality business management and charitable fundraising in Northern Ireland. Joining Joan at Daisy Lodge Therapeutic short break centre, we discuss some of the work involved in her role and the provision of care and support to those suffering from cancer and their families.
As the latest participant, Joan’s contribution joins a series of expert insights from sectoral leaders across Northern Ireland and beyond. The whole interview can be viewed on ProfileTree’s Business Leader series on YouTube, recently awarded with Best Video Series at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards.
As the discussion begins, Joan takes us through the remit of her work at Daisy Lodge. “We understand the impact that cancer has on these families. These families come to Daisy Lodge, and as a Hospitality Manager I look after all the hospitality services, from Front of House to catering and housekeeping. We ensure the highest standards of quality to welcome families here for short breaks”. Indeed, Joan comes to Cancer Fund for Children as a hospitality professional with over 30 years of experience, working across hotels, restaurants and eventually management roles.
After building extensive experience in the sector, Joan enrolled in university where she completed a degree in Tourism & Hospitality Management whilst working at Daisy Lodge. Since then, Joan has been welcoming families to the centre. “When a family comes to Daisy Lodge, they could be exhausted from time potentially spent in hospital, or in treatment. When they come here, they will be met and welcomed by our fantastic team,” she shares.
“We will show them to their bedrooms, offer them all their meals. They can focus on spending quality time together,” adds Joan. Indeed, she says that bringing this normality back to families is a core benefit of the facility. “They will have an opportunity to link with other families, and nobody understands what these people are going through like other families suffering the same thing. It’s all about that support, and there’s a lot of good work that happens here.”
Joan suggests that whilst a family may feel separated or isolated in hospital environments, Daisy Lodge allows those basic feelings of connection, allowing them to focus on those simple things like relaxing or having a meal together: “We have a Cancer Support Specialist who fully understands the impact of the condition, and they will offer group and one-to-one support. Sometimes families are disconnected – we bring them back together again. You can really see the difference in these families when they leave.”
Joan highlights that the centre is used for a number of functions around cancer support, including fundraising. “Unfortunately we only receive a tiny amount of government funding, so we really do rely on fundraising drives to help our income. Throughout the year we hold coffee mornings, craft fairs, an annual Christmas grotto and a Winter Wonderland Ball – great ways to raise funds for our cause. We need to raise £.24 million per year to fund all of our services – so we rely on business, schools and local communities to help us,” she admits.
Fundraising for the charity sector remains a highly challenging task. However, the Hospitality Manager points to corporate packages at Daisy Lodge as providing a strong revenue stream. “We were initially approached by partner charities, and our corporate packages grew out of that. We decided to put a package together, allowing these groups to use our facilities for all different kinds of purposes”.
Indeed, offering such packages has grown into a major feature of Daisy Lodge’s sustainability, and thinking outside of the box has become crucial in securing funds. “We can develop these according to a business’s own needs, and that’s what really makes us different,” concludes Joan. “We are involved in really good work here, and companies can organise their events at a facility which helps so many people.”
To enquire about Daisy Lodge’s facilities or to book a corporate or business events packages, visit www.cancerfundforchildren.com
Business Leaders is an award-winning video series from ProfileTree, Northern Ireland’s leading content marketing agency. To participate in the series and share your business story, get in touch with the team today.