Local Hospice launches first urgent appeal in its history due to Coronavirus

St Oswald’s Hospice is appealing for crucial funds, after having to cancel its normal fund-raising activites due to the coronavirus crisis.

REGIONAL charity St Oswald’s Hospice has been forced to launch its first-ever urgent appeal in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The hospice closed all 25 of its retail shops on March 23 and will not take any donations of items during the lockdown. It has also had to cancel or postpone most of its fundraising events that would have taken place over the spring and summer. When it comes to staff, as well as a team of paid employees, the hospice has 1,100 local people who volunteer on a regular basis across all its services. However, until lockdown is lifted, only volunteers who are specially trained will be able to work on-site.

Fundraising revenue equates to around £1,125,000 over the three-month period that lockdown is expected to last, which is the target of the urgent appeal.

St Oswald’s Hospice is well-known in the North East for its palliative care department and children’s care unit, but it has several other services that support famiilies across the region.

Steph Whitehead, head of communications and marketing, said: “Like many businesses and charities, the impact coronavirus is having on our services and fundraising is catastrophic. This is why we’ve launched our first urgent appeal in over 34 years of caring for families across the North East.”

Steph added: “Most people think of the hospice as just end-of-life care; however, we are much more than that. We also provide services such as pain and symptom management, day hospice services, and a short break service for children and young adults.

“We offer family support, as well as care and support for the patient too. The next few months are critical for us. If we don’t make up the shortfall then we’ll have to consider the real impact on our care services. Like many, this is awful and distressing for everybody involved.”

“At the moment, as many people are working from home and staying in, lots of people have told us they are doing those DIY jobs that they’ve not been able to, clearing their cupboards or their garage for example. So, if they could keep those items and donate them in future that would be amazing, but for now the Just Giving appeal is the safest and most cost-effective way to support the Hospice”.

Floor Christie-de Jong, senior lecturer in Public Health at Sunderland University, said: “One-in-four people cannot access the end-of-life care they need and deserve. With the current Covid-19 outbreak, this number will increase in the coming weeks. Losing hospice care would be devastating to many communities, families, and individuals.”

At the time of writing, St Oswald’s Hospice has raised just over £30,000, three per cent of its total.

For more information on how to donate to the St Oswald’s Hospice urgent appeal, see here.

Video by St Oswald’s Hospice.

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