A year like no other – A message from the Chief Executive of Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate

A message to all our supporters, from Tony Collins, Chief Executive:

Just at the time when we were preparing to send out our usual supporter magazine, the world paused – and then changed irreversibly.

Events were postponed, and in a fast moving situation, we at Saint Michael’s were forced to make changes to the way we work, the services we provide and the way we raise funds.

From there, we quickly found new ways of working and poured our efforts into ensuring that our quality of patient care was not compromised.

As with the rest of the country, we don’t yet know what the future will look like, or what changes may be necessary to make. However we want to continue to keep in touch with you all, to let you know what we are doing both to deliver our existing vital, hospice care services and to support our NHS colleagues and the wider communities in which we live and serve.

Below, you will find a summary of the services we are offering which are helping hundreds of local people living with terminal illness each week; the new community services we have implemented, an example of how the care we offer helps local families during the most difficult times and ways you can continue to support:

  • We continue to provide our inpatient services at the hospice and in peoples’ homes.
  • We have continued to provide specialist support to people at the end of life in their own homes – which has been needed more than ever.
  • We have launched Hear to Help – a community phone-line for anybody needing support around anxiety and emotional well-being during COVID-19. Anyone can call on (01423) 856 799 and the helpline is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
  • We are proud to be part of a team providing telephone support to NHS front line staff with emotional well-being, trauma and bereavement support from our Just ‘B’ team. This is now extended to care and social workers and emergency service workers.
  • We have checked in with our volunteers to keep them informed and ensure they are OK during these difficult times.
  • We are already looking at alternative ways of making up the income we are losing in certain areas, to protect our future sustainability.

During Covid-19 we have been truly overwhelmed by the many kind donations and gestures of support we have received. Thank you.

We are also thankful for the extra boost in funding we are receiving during this pandemic from the government, in recognition of our work to help our community and colleagues in the NHS to look after themselves.

With this continued community and government support, we are in the fortunate position to be able to focus on providing vital services without immediate pressure on our finances.  We are presently in a sound financial position and, for this, we are grateful. But for this to continue throughout this year and beyond, we need your support more than ever.

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has brought us significant financial challenges, including the reduction and, in many cases, cessation of retail, community and event fundraising – equating to around £3million.

We are trying to understand what this means for the future, but we do know that even when restrictions are lifted the negative effects on our finances will last throughout this year, if not into 2021.

Therefore we have not taken our foot off the gas and are already looking at alternative ways of making up the income we are losing in these areas, to protect our future sustainability.

This need will become particularly profound as the Covid-19 government funding reduces. That makes your donations, legacy gifts and contributions now and into the future even more essential.

If you remain able to give at this time, we welcome your support for individuals and families living with terminal illness and bereavement.

If you would like to support this care in your community, we are always happy to hear from you and we can also provide inspiration for Covid- 19 appropriate ways you can show this support.

In the meantime, we thank you for your continued support for Saint Michael’s.

Stay safe,

Tony

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