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Photo: Bob & Mary

2016 is a leap year so employers will benefit from an extra days work from their employees on Monday 29th February at no extra cost. In light of this, the three charities that make up #ChallengeDerbyshire; Ashgate Hospicecare, Blythe House Hospice and Helen’s Trust, are asking businesses to offer their staff an opportunity to make a donation in exchange for an extra days holiday.


Markovitz Commercial Director, Rob Turner, was the first to sign up. He said: “Our staff work hard every year so when #ChallengeDerbyshire asked us to offer them a days holiday in exchange for a donation, I couldn’t say no. Our staff are paid monthly so we won’t be paying them any more in February with it being a leap year so it doesn’t actually cost us anything.  We have asked staff to donate 50% of a day’s salary and they can take their extra day’s holiday at any time throughout the year. We hope this will raise a lot of money for these three local charities who really need our support.”


One employee, Gemma Wray, was quick to take part. She said: “When I heard from my manager that Markovitz were offering this I thought ‘What an absolutely brilliant idea!’


“The extra day will benefit me and three truly amazing charities. Company employees pay half of what they would normally earn in a day to Challenge Derbyshire and receive an extra days holiday from the company in return. The company get their extra days trading and everyone’s a winner, especially the charities!


“From personal experience I know Blythe House, one of the three charities that make up Challenge Derbyshire, offer amazing and well needed support to not only the people affected by a terminal illness but their family members too. I don’t know where we would be without them!”


Ashgate Hospicecare, Blythe House Hospice and Helen’s Trust have collaboratively met the needs of local patients through their variety of services for many years. Mary Atkinson, who was diagnosed with Corticobasal Syndrome 5 years ago, is just one of the many patients that receive care and support from all three charities. Her husband and full time carer, Bob, shares his story on the help they’ve both received from the local charities.


Bob says, “For a while I felt like everything was closing in on me. I was finding it really difficult to cope and there were concerns about my health in terms of depression. But the support I received from all three charities really helped me deal with everything – they’ve really helped both of us. It’s much better that I can look after Mary in our own home because that’s what we would both prefer, her here with me. I wouldn’t have been able to look after Mary without the support of these organisations. Because of them, we can continue living our normal lives.”


If you are an employer and would like to get involved please email or visit


About the charities


Ashgate Hospicecare is a local charity providing care to people across North Derbyshire, with any life-limiting illness, helping them to live for every day. Ashgate Hospicecare is one of the biggest hospices in the UK and their nurses make 4,000 home visits every year. Read more at


Blythe House Hospice adds quality to life by providing the highest levels of care for people affected by cancer and certain other life-threatening illnesses and supporting those who are bereaved. Over 1000 people access Blythe House services every year. Read more at


Helen’s Trust aims to help remove the barriers that may be preventing a person from staying at home by funding and providing care and equipment. Helen’s Trust helps around 150 people with terminal illness across North Derbyshire every year. Read more at


Having a diagnosis of cancer or any serious or life-limiting illness is a real challenge for the person and their family. The services provided by Ashgate Hospicecare, Blythe House Hospice and Helen’s Trust are free of charge, so they need your help to continue their vital services in your community.



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