St Helena Hospice has launched an urgent appeal to raise vital funds, after being hit heavily by the coronavirus pandemic.
After having to close their shops, the Hospice is anticipating a significant financial blow, as most money raised comes from their own stores.
The local charity supports people living with terminal illness and those facing bereavement.
Mark Jarman-Howe, St Helena Hospice’s chief executive, said:
“We’re facing a devastating loss of income because of the impact of the coronavirus.
"We have shut our shops; postponed our events; and many of you who were planning on supporting us at work, at school, at home or just out and about, have had to put a hold on your fundraising.
“As a charity, we need to raise around £2 million a year from our shops and fundraising combined, both of which will be significantly impacted for several months.
"The harsh reality of this situation is that it could have a negative impact on our ability to continue caring for thousands of local people who rely on our services every year.
“Right now, you can support us by donating to our urgent appeal so that we can continue to provide the expert and compassionate care our patients and families deserve and need.
“We are doing everything we can to protect loved ones in our care right now.
“Even at this difficult time, The Hospice remains open and we continue to work tirelessly to care for our patients here if they cannot be cared for at home.
“We are receiving more than 150 calls most days, many from distressed family members, meaning our SinglePoint telephone advice team is under more pressure than ever.
“We are therefore expanding our SinglePoint and Virtual Ward services continuously to meet the demand.
"This includes moving staff over to these teams from other roles within St Helena and retraining them to provide 24/7 advice and support over the phone, freeing up our nurses to quickly respond to patients in crisis with an emergency visit.”
(Chief Executive, Mark Jarman-Howe (above) says the Hospice has seen a surge in distressed calls from family members. Picture credits: St Helena Hospice)
The Hospice's Virtual Ward is also experiencing rapid growth and can now care for eight patients at a time - it enables patients to be supported by healthcare staff and remain at home during their final days if that is what they wish to do.
They have however, closed their Day Therapy Centres in Colchester and Clacton to the public, with bereavement and counselling support now being provided over the phone.
“This is why the support of the local community is more important than ever before.
"We urgently need more funds now so we are able to continue to adapt our services to provide whatever care and support is needed to those who are facing dying, death and bereavement in north Essex.
“If you are able to, please donate whatever you can.
"Your generosity and support will allow us to face this crisis and keep your local hospice running to help our patients and families get through this difficult time.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the appeal can do so here.