Hospice thanks communities for their 'incredible' support in helping it overcome financial challenges

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At the beginning of the year none of us could foresee what unprecedented times we would be living in.

Covid-19 has made it a particularly challenging year for HospiceCare North Northumberland, which has provided palliative care and support to people living with life-limiting illnesses since 1995.

The closure of its three shops in lockdown and cancellation of fund-raising events left it facing a financial black hole of around £50,000 a month.

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It came at a time when it was seeing an increase in referrals from local community healthcare teams including GPs and district nurses, for its Hospice at Home and bereavement support services across north Northumberland.

HospiceCare nurses.HospiceCare nurses.
HospiceCare nurses.

Rebecca Taylor, event and community fundraiser said: “We had to think fast about how we could generate the lost funds to sustain the charity during this time.

"However, what we also hadn’t foreseen, until we launched our appeal in April, was how our local communities would rally to ensure that we would be able to financially get through this year – to date they have collectively raised donations at nearly three times last year’s level.

"Whilst the Hospice received the same annual funding from Northumbria NHS Trust of 5%, the Government also stepped in through Hospice UK to secure an additional 12% funding because it’s been such an exceptional year.”

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HospicCare North Northumberland's nursing team, pictured in February 2020.HospicCare North Northumberland's nursing team, pictured in February 2020.
HospicCare North Northumberland's nursing team, pictured in February 2020.

Nina Burnett, clinical lead, said: “We anticipate by the end of March 2021 we will have provided over 12,000 hours of Hospice at Home care to people in our communities at the end of their life, travelling in excess of 40,000 miles to reach those homes.

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"Our bereavement support has also continued but via the telephone delivering approximately 500 hours this year.”

Throughout the year the Hospice at Home team have continued to work on the frontline to deliver their care and support 365 days, day or night, planned or in a crisis situation.

Its partnership with nine GP surgeries across North Northumberland earlier this year enhanced support for local people with palliative care needs in rural communities because

HospiceCare staff are now part of a coordinate, rapid response to the needs of people at the end of life, in their home.

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Emily Dobson, chief executive, said: “None of this would have been possible if we hadn’t received such incredible support from our local communities raising the extra funds we needed.

"It has been my privilege to work amongst the people who continue to step up to enable us to be able to deliver our Hospice at Home care and support.

"The Hospice couldn’t exist without one another. It’s a tremendous partnership because together we really do make a big difference.”

For further information on HospiceCare’s clinical services visit www.hospicecare-nn.org.uk.

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