Challenging times for Midland charities amid Covid crisis

Health care charities across the Black Country have revealed the impact coronavirus is having on them.

Acorns Children's Hospice in Walsall
Acorns Children's Hospice in Walsall

Bosses at Mary Stevens Hospice said 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in the charity’s 29-year history.

Mary Stevens Hospice CEO and Matron, Claire Towns, said: “We have had to change the way we work in each department of the hospice to ensure that through this global pandemic we have been able to continue to deliver palliative care to patients and families from our community when they need us.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to our community who, although facing their own personal challenges this year, have continued to support the hospice. We could not survive as a charity without their support, whether it be financial, practical or emotional.”

At Acorns Children’s Hospice, chief executive Toby Porter said: “From a financial point of view, as a charity that relies on fundraising to continue providing our care, the pandemic has been a real concern.

"At the start of the crisis we closed all our charity shops, which provide over £1 million a year to our work and many key fundraising events were cancelled. However, we’ve been very lucky to receive and take advantage of a number of Government schemes.

“As we move into the winter period there is still so much we don’t know about how the pandemic will develop.

"We’re continuing to be flexible in how we respond to the external environment and whatever happens, we will continue in our mission to support every family in the Black Country who needs us, now and long after this crisis has passed.

"We know from support given earlier in the crisis that the Government recognises how important the UK’s children’s and adult hospices are to local communities as well as to the country’s short and long-term health care system and I am therefore confident that additional support will be forthcoming to us as and when it should prove necessary.”

Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge

Katharine House Hospice launched an appeal last month and announced four of its charity shops will close and at least 20 jobs are under threat due to the financial impact of coronavirus.

Chief executive Doctor Richard Soulsby said more than £200,000 has already been raised. He added: “The appeal is going really well, that’s making a big difference, but our retail side is still about 25 to 30 per cent down per week.

"We do need support and this is a very difficult time for all charities and we do rely on that local support year-on-year.”

Meanwhile sight loss charity The Beacon Centre has launched an urgent appeal for donations after revealing it has lost almost £700,000 during the first six months of the pandemic.

Director of income generation Stella Pitt said: “Over the past six months we have listened to and witnessed the horrendous physical and emotional impact Covid-19 has had on our members.

“We’ve done all we can to continue supporting people when they have needed us the most, our small care team have been on the frontline looking after people 24-hours a day, we’ve expanded services such as our talking news and we’ve made around 8,000 welfare calls to check in with our members.We know how challenging times are for all of us right now, but we need people’s support more than ever.”

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