The Charity CEO Podcast


Barbara-Anne Walker

CEO Ashgate Hospice: Changing the conversation about death and dying

“Part of Ashgate’s ambition is to change the conversation about death and dying... to enable conversations to happen in daylight, in general conversation, about death and dying. We’re all going to die, its not something that any of us can avoid...”

Barbara-Anne Walker is the CEO of Ashgate Hospice. Barbara-Anne has worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years and has had an interest in palliative and end of life care since early in her career when she worked with people affected by HIV.

Barbara-Anne led the national social care programme for Macmillan Cancer Support and previously worked as Operations Director with the British Red Cross. She was a Non-Executive Director of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust for eight years. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Charity Times 'Leader of the Year' Award.

Barbara-Anne is Scottish and Derbyshire has been her home for over 20 years.

Ep 33. Barbara-Anne Walker, CEO Ashgate Hospice:

Changing the conversation about death and dying

Barbara-Anne Walker is the Chief Executive of Ashgate Hospice.

Ashgate Hospice is a specialist hospice, providing palliative and end of life care for the community of North Derbyshire. Their vision is for people with a life-limiting illness to be able to live well, and have a good death. And for their families to be supported and comforted through the process.

Less than 30% of hospice funding comes from the NHS and yet the hospices provide a vital service within the UK healthcare system. Barbara-Anne and her team at Ashgate Hospice have been prolific in engaging the community, campaigning and raising awareness for hospice funding, both locally as well as on the national stage.

Barbara-Anne is emphatic about the need to change the conversation about death and dying.

We talk about the organisation’s iconic Sparkle Walk event. We also talk about Ashgate Hospice’s own podcast, The Life and Death Podcast, which explores frank and honest conversations about death and what ‘dying well’ really means.

Barbara-Anne shares her thoughts on the importance of visible leadership and her role, as a leader, in creating a learning culture. She also shares some practical learnings gained from working through the pandemic.

Recorded May 2022.

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