OPINION: St Luke's has spent half a century supporting Sheffielders and now it's time to take care of them
One of Sheffield best-loved and most valued charities is about to mark its 50th anniversary, so let’s get behind it and help to give them the best fundraising year yet.
Since October 1971, St Luke’s Hospice has provided support for patients with terminal cancer, and other illnesses including neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease, HIV and end stage heart, lung and kidney conditions.
When it opened, the hospice was the first of its kind to be built outside of London, and over the last five decades the incredible charity has supported more than 40,000 patients and their families, and now offers specialist care to almost 2,000 patients every year.
Today, the majority – around 85 per cent – of patients are supported in their own homes by the St Luke’s Community Team, with the rest cared for on the St Luke’s In Patient Centre in Little Common Lane.
St Luke’s has also extended their remit to include support for care homes and bereavement support for families, and regard themselves as a “teaching hospice”, with a long tradition of supporting both education and academic research in all aspects of palliative care.
Since its inception, St Luke’s has set the pattern for hospice care, creating a model that today sees more than 200 independent hospices around the UK and thousands more worldwide.
The charity needs to raise around 75 per cent of its running costs itself, and is reliant upon the generosity and kindness of people in Sheffield and beyond.
They also have a total of 14 charity shops dotted around the city, as well as an army of 760 dedicated and highly motivated volunteers who happily give up their time.
St Luke’s annual Festival of Light celebration which sees thousands of lights illuminate the charity’s Little Common Lane garden in Whirlow, all dedicated in memory of loved ones, has become one of the city’s most cherished Christmas traditions.
Last year’s switch on had to be cancelled as the country went into winter lockdown, but organisers say they are confident it can go ahead as planned on December 5.
I know it’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years, financially, for many of us.
But after half a century of looking after Sheffielders, it’d be great if we could all dig deep and show our appreciation for their incredible service by donating what we can.
Whether that’s one pound or £100, a donation to, or purchase from, their charity shops, it all makes a difference.