THE forced cancellation of fundraising events and closure of its charity shops amid the Covid-19 crisis has led Oakhaven Hospice Trust to make a desperate appeal for donations.
The Pennington-based organisation, which provides specialist palliative care and support to those facing life-limiting illness and their loved ones, must raise nearly £5m annually in running costs.
However, the lockdown imposed by the government has dealt a heavy blow at a time when efforts to help prevent the spread of coronavirus has put extra pressure on its team of carers.
As well as the impact on individuals’ planned fundraisers, Oakhaven’s head of fundraising and communications, Amanda Clapham, told the A&T it had postponed or cancelled a number of its own events.
These include the Hospice Walk, in which participants choose from three coastal routes to the hospice – 26 miles from Sandbanks, 13 miles from Mudeford or seven miles from Barton. This was due to take place in May, but has now been pushed back until 29th August.
Ms Clapham revealed the board of trustees was discussing how fundraisers could take part in virtual events in aid of the hospice. This could involve sponsored walks or runs in their own gardens, which could be watched through social networking sites.
“We’re trying to look at new ways for people to do things for us while at home and bored,” she said.
“We have to raise about £4.8m a year overall, with about 14% of this being contributions from statutory sources.
“We also have no income from our eight charity shops which have all closed for the lockdown.”
Ms Clapham added the current crisis had set back the opening of a new charity shop in Totton, which was due to have taken place last Wednesday.
Oakhaven recently launched a photography competition, inviting people to send in images or pictures they take while enjoying their daily exercise along with a £1 donation.
Twelve photos will be chosen for the 2021 calendar, each month of which will be sponsored by a local business. For more information visit www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk/photocompetition
An appeal for supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Oakhaven’s team of carers has already garnered some donations, but it is hoped more help will be provided.
Those who can donate PPE are asked to contact the hospice on 01590 613025.
“Obviously, the sooner this is over we can pick up and carry on, but in the meantime we have been uploading lots of positive social media posts about what we are doing,” Ms Clapham continued.
“The key thing is that we want people in the community to keep Oakhaven Hospice in their minds.
“While we appreciate that people are very worried about the virus and the impact on their daily life, we would kindly ask people in our community to consider supporting us financially, so that we can continue to be here in the future.”
SOCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE COMMUNITY
Following the forced temporary closure of the Coates Centre in the hospice’s grounds in Lower Pennington Lane, the trust has launched a telephone support line for local residents who are feeling isolated, lonely and in need of reassurance.
The service is manned by volunteers working from home in shift patterns and although not a clinical line, they are able to give callers the chance to talk about the challenges they are facing.
This service can be called on 01590 555 005 seven days a week between 9am and 6pm.
SUPPORT FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE COLLEAGUES
Oakhaven has set up an emotional support service for those working in the NHS and nursing and residential care homes who may be suffering stress and stain during the pandemic. It is manned by the trust’s counselling and chaplaincy teams, providing either one-to-one or group support.
With face-to-face support not viable currently, bereavement support for all is being developed though information and signposting. Visit www.oakhavenhospice.co.uk and www.thecoatescentre.co.uk for information on local and national resources and to access blogs by the Oakhaven bereavement team.
The inpatient unit remains open to patients and their visitors, with certain restrictions in place for the safety of patients, visitors and staff. Community teams continue to support patients in their homes and Oakhaven Care is still helping clients at home in order to meet their various needs.