Lack of fundraising threatens to leave hospice budgets in tatters

The start of the pandemic almost financially destroyed some charities, now the region’s hospices and health care services have revealed the impact on them.

CEO Dr Soulsby at Katharine House Hospice
CEO Dr Soulsby at Katharine House Hospice

Acorns Hospice launched an urgent fundraising drive in 2019 and in September last year Katharine House Hospice also started an appeal due to the impact of the pandemic.

Since, supporters have raised almost £1 million for Acorns and more than £500,000 for Katharine House.

But now Katharine House is predicting a £1.25m loss of revenue between January and March, and chief executive Dr Richard Soulsby is hoping Government support will help.

He said: “We are incredibly grateful for the magnificent response of the local community in our time of need.

"So far our appeal stands at £570,000. Currently our care services are unaffected.

"The roll out of vaccines and Covid-19 testing are very important in this.

"The local NHS in Stafford have been extremely supportive and 37 front-line staff and two key hospice workers received their first Pfizer vaccine on January 3.

"We now have access to free testing kits for staff based in the hospice itself. This is important to us because if a high proportion of our care and clinical staff are vaccinated it will help ensure we do not lose too many staff.

“Again we find our shops have been closed, and now anticipate a loss of £1.25m revenue from January to March.

"However, the government’s furlough scheme and business rate grant scheme will both provide revenues to mitigate a proportion of the losses.

"It is our hope that further government support may come through our national body Hospice UK from NHS England to help manage the loss of the surpluses generated by our retail operation.”

Challenge

Toby Porter, Acorns CEO, said: “Our family team workers have obviously been speaking to parents and young people throughout this crisis, and they have told us directly how difficult they found the last complete lockdown that began in March.

"We are therefore extremely concerned and doing all we can to reassure families that we will continue to provide them with all the support they need. Our care staff at Walsall have started to be offered Covid-19 vaccines at Walsall Manor.

"And secondly, they have been given enough ‘lateral flow’ home Covid testing kits to test themselves at home twice a week.

"We are also able to test children and family members just prior to staying at the hospice.”

Mr Porter added: “The Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal is very close indeed to the £1 million raised mark.”

Rachel Overfield, Interim CEO at Compton Care, said: “With each lockdown comes a new challenge and a requirement to work in a new and innovative way.

"Many of our community patients were unable to access our services due to the first lockdown so we decided to take our services to them.

"We will be continuing to offer virtual and telephone support to these patients, as well as increasing our physical visits to community patients.”

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