Sheffield hospice losing £100,000 a month due to coronavirus launches urgent fundraising appeal

A much-loved Sheffield charity has launched an urgent fundraising appeal after revealing they are losing £100,000 a month due to the coronavirus crisis.

By Dan Hayes
Saturday, 29th August 2020, 12:30 pm

St Luke’s Hospice has maintained its core patient care services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but with its shops closed for more than three months and major fundraising events cancelled, the charity’s finances have been badly hit.

Now, the Beauchief-based charity is asking people in the city to make a regular donation to help provide them an income they can depend upon, saying they cannot sustain such losses indefinitely.

Head of fundraising, Joasia Lesniak, said: "When the world stopped for the coronavirus crisis we did not and our staff were there 24/7 helping patients – top to toe in PPE and always with smile on their faces.

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St Luke's Hospice is asking people to donate a regular amount every month so they can maintain their vital services.

"But the pandemic has meant we are losing around £100,000 a month and we are determined that the people of Sheffield will always have access to the same quality of care they have always enjoyed.

"We are lucky to have been able to dig deep into our reserves but what we need is the stability of a regular income that will mean we will be here for many generations to come.

“We are now asking the wonderful people of Sheffield could they spare £6, £12 or £18 a month so St Luke's is there for people now and in future.”

During the coronavirus crisis, the St Luke’s integrated community nursing team has cared for up to 450 people in their own homes at any one time, while the in-patient centre team has continued to provide 24-hour specialist palliative care for up to 20 patients at any one time.

St Luke's fundraising appeal

They also provided extra support to families caring for loved ones at home, patients who before the pandemic and subsequent visiting restrictions may have been cared for in hospital.

And the clinical teams have been supporting nursing and care homes, using face to face video technology to develop skills and share experience in providing palliative care.

Kathryn Burkitt, director of income generation, media and marketing, said the pandemic had had a 'devastating’ effect on St Luke’s financially, and that the crisis posed a long-term threat that would not go away quickly.

She said: “To keep delivering high-quality care through the pandemic we’ve reduced costs where we can and taken advantage of all available government support schemes but we’ve still had to dig deep into our financial reserves to ensure we can get through this difficult time.

“But this cannot be sustained indefinitely - our traditional sources of income ceased in March, with fundraising events cancelled and our charity shops closing their doors for many months and there will be no immediate recovery.

“It is hard to estimate the losses we have experienced but we expect our income to be hit with a loss of around £100,000 per month over the year, even after government support.

“St Luke’s will suffer from the financial impact of this pandemic for several years to come which is why we are asking our supporters to help us in our recovery by setting up a monthly donation.”

The charity’s new fundraising campaign points out that a £6 a month donation could contribute to nutritionally balanced food packages that are prepared and delivered to patients at home who are perhaps shielding or unable to cook for themselves.

A £12 a month donation could go towards the cost of the St Luke’s community nurses delivering vital care and pain relief to patients when needed, in the comfort of their own homes.

And £18 a month could contribute to the ongoing cost of providing the St Luke’s 24-hour specialist palliative care for up to 20 patients at a time at the hospice’s in-patient centre.

“Our challenge now, with the help of our supporters, is to plan with regular, predictable income,” said Kathryn.

“When the world stopped, we did not - we are still here 24/7, still visiting our patients in their own homes, still caring for patients on the in-patient centre and we are still supporting families during lockdown.

“Whether caring for patients in their own homes or on our in-patient centre, our care hasn’t changed.

“Things might look different on the outside, but behind the protective equipment we are determined to continue providing the same dignified and compassionate care, tailored to each patient’s needs.

“Annual government funding covers just 25 per cent of the money needed to keep St Luke’s running and even with additional emergency government funding, we are dependent on the generosity of people across Sheffield and beyond to provide the rest so we can continue to support patients and families. Will you give what you can?”

In a normal year, St Luke’s Hospice cares for around 1,800 patients, as well as their families and carers – helping about 6,000 people in all.

To find out more about the charity and its campaign for monthly donations visit www.stlukeshospice.org.uk.