Letter to Editor: Hospice Care Week 2020

Charity / Mon 5th Oct 2020 at 08:16am


WE want to take the opportunity of Hospice Care Week (5-11 October) to thank everyone in our local community for their support, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, to ensure that St Clare Hospice can carry on being there for those who require specialist palliative and end of life care and bereavement support.

Over the last six months we’ve been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of people in our local community, who have pulled together and thought of their local Hospice charity amidst the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought. And we’ve never needed their support more.

Every year St Clare Hospice offers care and support to over 1,500 people with a life-limiting or terminal illness across West Essex and East Herts. This support is tailored to each person, helping them to live life as fully as possible, while also offering support to their friends and family.

As an independent charity, St Clare Hospice is heavily reliant on the support of our local community and we could see in March, just as the pandemic began to unfold, that our voluntary income would be hard-hit. We launched an urgent fundraising appeal which raised over £120,000. We also appealed to the local community for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and the response was again phenomenal, with over 100,000 items donated.

We were also aware of the additional support needed by people in our local community, who had lost loved ones due to the pandemic, or were isolated and grieving. So, over the last six months, we’ve changed our services to meet local need. We’ve overhauled our bereavement services to ensure that everyone in our community can access St Clare’s bereavement support – this has included creating online communities as part of our Bereavement Cafés and launching a new Bereavement Helpline.

There is a long road ahead for the Hospice as, in the twelve months from the coronavirus lockdown beginning, we are predicting a £600,000 gap in our usual fundraising income. The Hospice is prepared for challenges to our income such as this, and we have reserves to call on. But this is an unprecedented situation and, as we begin to navigate a second wave, we know that we need our supporters’ help more than ever to continue carrying for and supporting people who are experiencing death, dying and loss.

The theme for Hospice Care Week this year is ‘This is what it takes’ and we are keen to show just what it does take to deliver our support. Over the past six months, as we have navigated the coronavirus pandemic, it has taken all the more team work, excellence and dedication of our supporters, to continue delivering outstanding care to the people of our community. Everything that St Clare Hospice does is only possible because of the commitment of our skilled staff, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters. Thank you – I am so grateful for everyone’s support.

We invite people to read some of the experiences of our staff over the last few months, by visiting our website: stclarehospice.org.uk/blog and to show their support for us on social media during Hospice Care Week. We’d love people to share their thoughts and experiences of about hospice care using the hashtag #ThisIsWhatItTakes and tagging St Clare on whatever social media platform they use. Readers can support us financially by donating on our website stclarehospice.org.uk

If you would like to speak to our team to find out how we can help you, please call us on 01279 773700. Anyone in need of bereavement support can call our Bereavement Helpline on 01279 967670.

Sarah Thompson, Chief Executive

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