Staff and volunteers at St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice are still providing support to those most in need.
But the charities have been hit financially by the closure of their retail shops and cancellation of fundraisers.
Despite emergency funding for charities announced by the Chancellor last week, the hospices still face significant budget shortfalls.
Rosemarie Finley, chief executive officer at both hospices, said: “Please continue to support us in any way you can. Whether that’s a donation or message of support, we need you more than ever and knowing you are there for us really helps.
“We’ve had some really positive feedback from people. A lot are saying they’re going to try even harder to raise more money for us as they know how much we need it, now more than ever. We love hearing about the innovative ways our supporters are fundraising – they are truly inspirational.
“It’s a difficult time for everyone, but if anyone is in the position to make a donation – no matter how big or small – that would make a real difference.
“Supporting local people remains our top priority, and donations enable this to happen, now and in the future.”
Supporters are also coming up with virtual fundraising ideas during lockdown, from online pub quizzes to trekking on staircases.
Many have already stepped up to the plate, organising fundraising challenges from inside their own homes.
A team of 12 from Barclays led by business development director Loren Charlton were due to climb Yorkshire’s Three Peaks in June to raise money for Chestnut Treee House.
Still determined to complete their fundraising challenge they have decided to climb the same height but using their stairs at home at the start of May.
Meanwhile when James Brock, Michael Jones & Company’s Goring branch manager, found the Bright Marathon was postponed he wanted to find a way to continue fundraising and make the most of his daily exercise.
He has continued to raise money for St Barnabas House with a weekly solo ‘fancy dress Friday’ run. Outfits have included Batman and the Cat in the Hat.
James said: “The response from the community has been fantastic – it’s a great way to help lift spirits and put a smile on people’s faces. I’ve had people beep their horns, clap, wave and shout.”
When singer-songwriter Joe Stilgoe’s shows were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, he didn’t want to let down his fans, so decided to perform online concerts from his garden shed in Hove. He interacts with his followers on social media, allowing them to direct the ‘Stilgoe in the Shed’ set list.
Last month Joe, who is an ambassador of Chestnut Tree House, dedicated his 30-minute live music show to the charity and took requests from charity supporters via social media in advance.
Chestnut Tree House patron Peter Andre sent a special video message to the hospice thanking the care team for their dedication and hard work.
Meanwhile Olympic Gold medallist, Sally Gunnell, put together a short video especially for St Barnabas House, with some ideas for exercising from your chair. Sally, who is a vice president of the charity, said: “I’ve been a passionate supporter of St Barnabas House for many years, and know how dedicated the whole team are about the people they care for, as well as their volunteers and supporters.
“It’s very much a community charity as without your help, local hospice care simply wouldn’t be possible. Please support them if you can, especially at this difficult time. Thank you and stay safe.”
Chestnut Tree House is also holding a live virtual quiz on its Facebook page on Tuesday April 21 starting at 8pm. Entry is free, but there is a suggested donation of £3.
Although both hospices are still running many of their services, they have had to make a number of changes during the lockdown.
St Barnabas House has opened five new beds and is continuing outpatient appointments, therapy services, community palliative care team and hospice at home visits.
But during the coronavirus lockdown it has had to close the day hospice, café and put the outreach project on hold, and while people can visit their loved ones, it is essential visiting only with one person at a time.
The hospice has introduced a new ‘helping hands’ scheme, which aims to provide social and practical support to hospice patients who do not have a network of family and friends.
From fundraising to finance, non-clinical team members from across the organisation are helping deliver essential shopping, collecting prescriptions and delivering medication, as well as making friendly phone calls to keep in touch with patients and help tackle loneliness.
In the first week, 77 referrals were made, with the service initially piloting with patients who usually attend the day hospice once a week for social activities, respite care and emotional support.
Day Hospice patient, Don Pearman, aged 88, lives alone in Worthing and is benefitting from weekly welfare chats. He said: “Thank you for all that you are doing for me. I do miss my visits to day hospice but roll on the day when I can return to St Barnabas, my second home.”
Meanwhile, Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice is closed for routine short break admissions and day visits for the foreseeable future, in line with Government guidelines.
It is still able to provide care for exceptional circumstances, end-of-life and bereavement support, which will be assessed on an individual basis.
The care team is remaining in contact with the 300 children and families they support to discuss individual needs and are offering community visits if they would still like them to go ahead.
Nurses from both hospices have gone to work in the NHS to support the increased demand for care during the coronavirus outbreak.
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