Important update from your hospice

News and Blog

As a valued supporter, we wanted to share this message from our Chief Executive, Giles Tomsett:

“When 2020 began, none of us could have imagined the direction this year would take. This awful pandemic is a chapter in our personal and working lives that will live with us for a very long time. It has changed the way we all live, love, work and learn.

The same is true for your charitable hospice, St Catherine’s. Throughout the pandemic, we have been as focused as ever on helping local people who are facing the very worst of times while supporting the wider NHS, and I want to thank every one of you who has supported us through this time.

But despite all your amazing support, COVID-19 has placed a huge strain on our income and we’ve had to make the tough decision to change our plans for the next few years to adapt to this changed world.

Although we’re having to scale down our work to reflect our new situation, our ambition has not changed, including our intention to build a new hospice for our community when the time is right. We want to make sure that we can reach even more people who are facing death and bereavement in the future, so that nobody in our community has to face death and loss alone.

What impact has COVID-19 had on St Catherine’s?
The virus has meant that our ambition to help even more people affected by death and dying has been severely impacted. Our new hospice build has been delayed and we are considering how we operate the services we currently run to best help the people who need us.

Because, like almost all charities, COVID-19 has hit our fundraising hard, we’re predicting a drop in income of around £1.5 million this year, which is approximately 15% of our income, and we expect this will continue in subsequent years.

What has St Catherine’s done?
As soon as lockdown began, we took immediate action, including furloughing many of our staff. Like all hospices across the UK, we benefitted from a payment from HM Treasury, which covered our running costs for three months. These actions saved us money and bought us time to work with our Board of Trustees, developing a longer-term response which is essential to secure the future of end of life care in your community.

Because COVID-19 has severely hit our income, we will have a lot less to spend on our hospice services in the medium term, and we’ll have to limit how we deliver our activities – Sadly, including reducing the number of people in our wonderful team, and considering how we may adapt our services.

It is difficult to make changes like this at our hospice, which has done such crucial work for terminally ill and bereaved people in our community over nearly 40 years, but, sadly, unavoidable if we want to make sure that St Catherine’s keeps operating successfully for another 40 years.

The people we help are everything to us. Many of you will have experienced our care or know someone who has, so you’ll know how special St Catherine’s is and that it is always seeking to improve. I wanted to say to you, with my Senior Management Team and Trustees, that we are doing everything in our power to find more financial support, and are working with our charity and NHS partners to seek more funding for our vital work.

Savings across the hospice
We will be reducing our expenditure right across the charity so that we are as efficient as we can be during these tough times. And we will have less of our amazing team here at the hospice. The people who work at St Catherine’s are professional, dedicated and invariably brilliant. We are the place we are because of them, and because of their passion, humanity, bravery and love. Working at the hospice is so much more than a job to them. So to have to reduce our numbers is tough.

We’re right at the start of this process and we’ll know more about specific changes in the coming months. What I do know is that while we are scaling back, we will work hard to make sure this is only temporary. Our ambition to reach everyone affected by death and dying remains alive and we are determined to succeed.

Our future
So much of the future beyond COVID-19 is uncertain, but we will not give up. Along with our Trustees I believe completely in the passion and potential of St Catherine’s, our brilliant staff, dedicated volunteers and amazing supporters in our community. But I know we can’t do it alone. We need your support more than ever so that, together, we will create a future where no one faces death and loss alone.

Terry O’Leary, Chair of Trustees at St Catherine’s, said “I have personal experience of the wonderful care which St Catherine’s provides, so to make this decision is incredibly painful for our Trustees, Chief Executive and for everyone involved with the hospice.”

To make a donation to support our hospice so we can continue to provide care to others in your community during this difficult time and beyond please click here