As head of retail at children’s hospice Simon gets to meet ‘amazing people’

Hospice Chief Executive Alison Carlisle and Head of Retail Simon Vicary at the opening of new shop
Hospice Chief Executive Alison Carlisle and Head of Retail Simon Vicary at the opening of new shop

As head of retail at St Andrew’s Hospice, Simon Vicary, is using his experience to help the hospice secure funding for the great work is does throughout Lincolnshire.

Simon, 46, has been in this role for the last 21 months and has worked in retail for more than 30 years.

He said: “Having worked in retail since being a teenager, I thought there was lots I could give to the hospice.

“The job role is amazing; very broad with a great mix of people management and operational management as well as a business planning and strategic element to it.”

Simon says the challenges of his role have been learning lots of new skills at the same time as being responsible for 20 paid employees and more than 350 volunteers who are throughout across Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Simon said: “One of my biggest challenges at the moment is opening new shops to increase the money coming into the hospice, as well as making the services we offer better known in the community.

“The rewards often speak for themselves. I’m based in the hospice so on a daily basis I see our patients, their families and the general public who visit.

“It’s very rewarding to see that the money my team makes for the hospice goes directly to care for people.

“I’ve always loved working in retail, however, this opportunity came up at the right time for me and it just felt like the right thing to do so it was a bit of a surprise, yes, but a very welcome one.”

Simon says his biggest achievement so far has been working with the Trustee Directors to get a five-year business plan together.

He said: “And then being able to communicate and inspire our shop managers and volunteers to want to achieve it.

“I absolutely love being out in our shops.

“You meet so many amazing people and get very direct feedback on how they see the plan working.

“Unlike working with paid employees, our volunteers tell you exactly what they think and the truth as they see it, so you know how you are doing every day.”

Andy’s is based in Grimsby and is unique because an adult hospice is also on the same site; there are only a handful of other hospices in the UK which do this.

It has about 120 members of staff, enabling it to provide 24-hour care seven days a week, and about 475 volunteers who support all aspects of the hospice’s work.

Simon is married to Alison, who is a Regional People Manager for Morrisons, and they have four children, Sebastien, Sophie, Scott and Natalie, who are aged from 17 to 28.

Simon said: “We live just south of Lincoln with our three dogs.”

Simon comes from Grimsby area and grew up just down the road from where St Andrew’s Hospice is situated.

He went to Waltham Toll Bar school and left after studying A-Levels in Economics, English and Geography.

He said: “For the majority of my career, I worked for Tesco in different store-based roles and also did three very different roles in its head office in Hertfordshire.

“The last 15 years, I was a store manager for Tesco and Gainsborough was the last store I managed before leaving in March 2015.”

Simon’s ambition for the future is to grow the business to provide as much funding for the hospice as possible.

He said: “This is a big challenge which has a very broad remit.

“I love working in the charity retail sector and meet some amazing people.

“Their passion and drive for retail and the organisations they work for really is astounding compared to my previous retail experience.”

When is not busy working Simon enjoys walking his dogs, drinking with friends in the village where he lives and driving his cars and motorbike.