Shropshire hospices reveal £1 million crisis as coronavirus hits funding

Two county hospices have revealed how they have lost more than £1 million in fundraising because of the coronavirus crisis.

Hope House
Hope House

Hope House children's hospice and Severn Hospice have seen fundraising hit hard as a result of the Covid crisis, with the loss of both corporate and public fundraising, as well as the income generated by their shops.

Both charities have thanked those who have continued to support and donate to the cause, and urged people to do what they can to help them continue providing the services which make a huge difference to the families affected.

Hope House's director of fundraising and marketing Simi Epstein explained the scale of the impact on the organisation's finances.

She said: “The impact of Covid has been immense. Businesses who generously support us are finding that more challenging and therefore our corporate income has dropped by 50 per cent which equates to £300,000 so far and donations have also dropped by a further £155,000.

"Although our shops are up and running again, as a result of the closures we have also lost an additional £750,000.

“The situation is bleak as we know that recovering these losses will be impossible unless everyone gets behind us and helps in whatever way they can.

“Our shops are running on reduced hours as many of our volunteers who are the backbone of our retail operation are not able to return yet and therefore we are urgently seeking volunteers who can help us now.”

Severn Hospice chief executive Heather Tudor said: “Severn Hospice hasn’t stopped caring throughout the pandemic but our ability to raise funds and generate income has been devastated.

“The effect of the lockdown was instant – cutting us off from around £100,000 a week in fundraising income.

“Even as shops are completing their phased reopening, we are far from reaching anything like our sales targets – in a normal year we’d expect them to contribute around £1 million towards care – and we can tell already this is going to be a long, slow, challenging journey.

Severn Hospice

“We can’t hold events like we used to or allow our community groups to help us by holding their events. It will be spring at the earliest before we can get back to anything like normal, and who knows what the public’s appetite for joining in will be in the future.

“We did get support from government in the early months and we have worked hard with our understanding suppliers and landlords, as well as making adjustments ourselves to make resources go further. Our supporters did their best to be there for us too. But none of this could ever make up for what was missing."

Ms Epstein added: "A lot of our problem will come down to how long can people not have face-to-face gatherings and fundraising events, so we are going to be more reliant than ever on our regular giving.

"This is the money that we can count on which enables us to plan ahead and gives us that security that we can pay for our nurses and make sure we can stay open.

“Any help people can give us will be gratefully received, whether it is £1 a week to play our lottery, or £5 or £10 a month on direct debit. I can’t begin to describe what a difference that would make.

"Please visit hopehouse.org.uk to donate, join one of our upcoming fundraising events, or sign up for our weekly lottery.”

Ms Tudor added: "We care for around 3,000 families a year in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales – and that figure is growing every year. We can’t stop caring and what the pandemic has underlined is that the only way that can continue is through sustained, long-term financial support.

“Our reserves will carry us through in the short term, but if we are not able to reinstate our fundraising activities, we, like any organisation will be potentially facing very difficult decisions.”

To find out how to support Severn Hospice visit https://www.severnhospice.org.uk/

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