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Hospices face funding crisis as charity cash dries up during lockdown

Hospices are facing funding crisis as charity cash dries up during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Hospices in the east are warning they may struggle to survive the financial impact of Covid-19.

Restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus have seen the closure of charity shops and the cancellation of major events from which hospices receive the vast majority of their funding.

East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), which runs centres in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk, is expected to lose nearly £2 million by July.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Charlie Frost

“We’re losing £100,000 a week in terms of income from the shops, in addition to that we’re losing a further £50,000 in terms of fundraised income. We do need the help of the public at this time so that we can have the funding to reinstate our services as quickly as possible once we’re allowed to do so.”

– Tracy Rennie, Acting Chief Executive, EACH

EACH, St Helena Hospice in North East Essex and The Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridgeshire have all issued urgent appeals for donations.

All of them are still supporting patients, that can’t be cared for at home, at the end of their life in their centres. But many of the other services they all provide, including bereavement therapies have had to be suspended or adapted to work online.

  • Matthew Hudson spoke to the Arthur Rank Hospice Chief Executive Sharon Allen about the work they are doing and the financial problems they face

St Helena, which supports adults with terminal illnesses and their families, says despite having to cancel many of its face to face services, it is in fact busier than ever. The helpline it runs ‘SinglePoint’ has been inundated with calls, as people suffering from serious illnesses that aren’t Covid19 worry about how their care will be affected.

Mark Jarman-Howe:

“We’ve had to shut all of our shops which means we’re losing around £60,000 in income every week. We’re also seeing our fundraising hugely hit. We get about £1 million a year from events and challenges and individual donations and all of that has been hugely impacted. It’s a very significant hit to our finances at a time when we’re having to grow our services and support.’

– Mark Jarman-Howe, Chief Executive, St Helena Hospice

Last week St Helena Hospice was dealt a further blow when one of its shops in Colchester was broken in to. Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was done to the store on Magdalen Street, money the hospice says could have been better spent on patient care. Especially when its donations have dropped off almost overnight.

Only a fraction of hospice funding comes from the government. Last year it cost St Helena £8 million to provide its service. Around a third of this came from the government. It needs to make £2 million a year from its shops and fundraising events.

In 2019, EACH received 17% of its total income from the government. It needs to raise £6 million from fundraising and more than £5 million from its shops each year to survive.

While hospices are appealing for donations from the public, they are also hoping the government will step in to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

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