There With You: Saint Francis Hospice chief exec issues rallying call for community support during coronavirus crisis
PUBLISHED: 19:21 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:26 24 March 2020
Saint Francis Hospice
The chief executive of Saint Francis Hospice has made a rallying call for community support as the charity faces an expected decline in income.
Pam Court, who heads up the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower, said it has had to take “crucial” decisions about how it provides its services in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity, which cares for people with life-limiting illnesses, has already had to postpone all of its fundraising events that involve large gatherings.
Ms Court said the hospice’s 16 shops, located across east London and Essex, “will also suffer”.
She added: “Our priority is to keep everyone safe. We need to ensure our charity remains financially supported so that we can protect patients, their loved ones, and also our workforce.
“We had multiple fundraising activities planned in our bid to reach our fundraising target of £7.8 million this year. The outcome of these decisions was upsetting for all of us, but they were decisions that we simply had to make.
“We must now find other ways to fundraise as we prepare ourselves for the inevitable: a decline in income.”
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The charity has already seen examples of people supporting it at this time - such as the sourcing of face masks from Hong Kong and a supporter giving a training session on mask fitting to the staff.
Ms Court said the hospice is assisting staff working from home where it is possible and practical and said it will keep in touch with volunteers who are self-isolating and have promised to return.
The hospice, which celebrated its 35th birthday last year, will provide updates with the latest health advice and any changes to how it looks after those people who require its services.
Ms Court insisted: “Together, we will pull through this to secure the next 35 years of outstanding hospice care.
“We urge you to stay in touch, support us where you can, and appeal to keep us in your hearts and minds as you are in ours.
“Our patients and nurses need your support. Please help if you can.”
To sponsor one of the hospice’s nurses, visit www.sfh.org.uk/news/sponsor-a-nurse.