A hospice in Gwent said it is facing "its biggest challenge in forty years" as it is unable to raise enough funds to help those in need.

The Newport-based hospice helps people throughout south east Wales and south Powys.

St David's Hospice Care said it has to fund 70% of its clinical services through shops, fundraising and events, while the NHS covers the remaining 30%.

The shops and events usually bring in £3.5m a year to help fund the hospice's clinical and nursing services. But now, its shops are closed and events are cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving staff feeling "desperate".

The palliative and end of life care hospice normally cares for around 1,200 patients on a daily basis.

St David's Hospice Care said it is "bracing itself for a massive spike in Covid-19 pandemic referrals."

Credit: St David's Hospice Care

Hospice chief executive Emma Saysell says: "Our plea to supporters is urgent and immediate."

She added, "I fully expect referrals for our services to increase by 40-50% over coming days.

"If you would normally support us by shopping in one of our stores perhaps you would consider making a donation at this time, if we have supported you, a friend or family member perhaps you could consider a donation. Any donation, however big or small, will be so gratefully received."

These are extremely worrying and totally unprecedented times.

Emma Saysell, hospice chief executive

Emma Saysell said, "We are experts in palliative and end of life care. Our unique specialism and knowledge has never been as crucial as it is now.

"The hospice and its nursing staff have a crucial and increasingly important role to play at this very difficult time and are all determined to carry on with their work."

Credit: St David's Hospice Care

Currently, the 15-bed in-patient hospice, at Malpas and the at home Community Nursing Service remain open.

Emma Saysell said, "Our nurses are at people's homes caring as usual throughout our community delivering palliative and end of life care every hour, of every day, of every week of the year. This need will only increase as the days pass."

She added: "If you can please do help us by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/stdavidscovid19 Thank you".

The hospice has also been raising money by selling t-shirts with pictures of the Llandudno goats, who recently rose to international fame.

The hospice has been raising money by selling Great Orme goat t-shirts. Credit: St David's Hospice