Our hospice's urgent appeal target met thanks to support of community

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Garden House Hospice Care's Hawthorne Centre was able to reopen in September thanks to the support of the community - Credit: Garden House Hospice Care

In April 2020, Garden House Hospice Care asked for your help as the pandemic plunged it into financial difficulty, and fears it would be forced to close some of its services set in. 

The government, recognising the vital role of hospices, pledged to provide additional financial support. This left the hospice with £600,000 to find to make ends meet. In March 2021, the target was met, thanks to support from our community. 

As a result, staff were able to adapt services and keep supporting the people who needed them during the pandemic. 

Sue Plummer

Garden House CEO Sue Plummer has given an update following last year's urgent appeal - Credit: Garden House Hospice Care

Garden House Hospice Care CEO, Sue Plummer, brings you this update: “A year ago we asked for help. Despite support from the government in recognition of the work we, and all hospices, were doing in response to the pandemic, we had to fill a £600,000 deficit to keep our services open. 

“The only way for us to survive financially was to reach out to our community. 

“Last month, we hit that £600,000 target thanks to an incredible collective effort made by hundreds of generous individuals, organisations, businesses and groups. 

“In short: people who have needed our care this past year received it because of you. “ 

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“The response to the urgent appeal we launched a year ago blew us away. Thank you to each and every one of you who contributed. 

“The sad but honest truth is: this is not over. “ 

“Ever since we first heard the words ‘COVID-19’, I am so pleased that by adapting in countless ways, local people have never stopped being able to access our services, both at the hospice and in our community.  

“Yes, it may be in a slightly different way – for example, group rehabilitation and wellbeing activities had to be moved online. On the Inpatient Unit, while visiting has been restricted, we’ve ensured that patients have still been able to see those closest to them, and we were one of the first health care settings locally to introduce mandatory lateral flow testing for all visitors. 

“Our staff have remained resolute, courageous, and innovative because for everyone, our patients and their needs were top priority. 

“Nevertheless, the impact on many of the people we care for has been immense. When we started to welcome patients back to our Hawthorne Centre, the majority had experienced a significant deterioration in their health due to months of being isolated and stuck at home. I am delighted to report that a few months on, following focused, bespoke support from our teams, almost all are back to their pre-COVID health. 

“We have had a surge in referrals for young people needing mental health support and we know that diagnosis levels of many health conditions are lower than normal – which is unfortunately likely to result in more demand for our care. In truth, some patients we have seen in recent months feel delay in their treatment during the pandemic has resulted in them needing our care sooner than they may have done. 

“With thanks to vaccination and everyone’s commitment to lockdown, a more ‘normal’ life is slowly resuming. Our shops have just reopened after months of closure and we have launched some fundraising events. But the future is uncertain. Times are hard for many.

"Scientists anticipate a third wave which may again impact on our income. We know hospices will not get any additional support from the government this year, so we have no safety net. 

“So I am asking that you do not forget us. I would not be sitting here saying we had stayed open this year without the generosity we have seen from you all. But frustratingly, we still have challenging times ahead. “ 

“As a charity, we need to raise £5million every year to fund our services, so your ongoing support is always needed and we are grateful to those of you who have been loyal to us, your local hospice, for many years. In this current environment your commitment to us and our patients is needed more than ever. 

“There are lots of ways you can continue to help – you could pledge a monthly donation, which would help us plan more sustainably, donate to or browse our shops, or sign up to one of our fantastic events with your family, friends or colleagues. Please visit our website for more ways to get involved. 

“Thank you again for your wonderful support. “ 

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Kevin was welcomed back to the Hawthorne Centre in September, after losing his mobility during lockdown - Credit: Garden House Hospice Care

Kevin’s story: ‘I’ve got my mojo back now’ 

Kevin has a chronic lung condition called COPD, which causes symptoms such as breathlessness and frequent chest infections. He has been receiving support from Garden House Hospice Care for four years, but our Hawthorne Centre was forced to close during the first lockdown and Kevin had to isolate.  

Within months, his health had deteriorated so badly he could hardly walk, spent most of his time in bed and had to use a wheelchair. 

The hospice welcomed Kevin back to the Hawthorne Centre in September and immediately focused on getting his mobility back. Within weeks he was using our treadmill and lifting weights again and Kevin could resume activities – such as household chores! 

“My partner Martine is happy because I can do things around the house again,” he laughed. 

“I’ve got a much better life than before. I can’t praise the hospice enough. My quality of life had gone down to nothing, but I’ve got my mojo back now. The hospice has made me feel positive about the future. Without it I’d be isolated and I’d get quite despondent - their support has made all the difference.” 

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