The independent charity which partly funds hospice services across Medway and Swale has been told it is not eligible for a share of the £200 million earmarked for hospice care in the government’s emergency coronavirus fund for charities.
The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice (FOWH), which is based in Rochester, committed to providing £670,000 towards hospice running costs last year. But the COVID-19 lockdown means income has almost dried up. The three FOWH charity shops have been closed and fundraising activities cancelled at what is usually one of the busiest times of the year.
Now the charity has been told that emergency funds will only be going to charities who run hospices themselves and that as FOWH funds end of life, palliative services provided by Medway Community Health Care it doesn’t qualify for support even though it is committed to meet a substantial share of the costs.
FOWH is one of about a dozen hospice charities nationwide in a similar position. Chief Executive Martyn Reeves said:
”I was astounded when I was told we would not qualify for emergency funding schemes administrated by Hospice UK. We had worked closely with Hospice UK in lobbying the government for emergency funding.
At first, I was led to believe that we would be getting a share of the funds but suddenly that changed. Somewhere along the line, someone has moved the goalposts. I contacted the other charities affected and collectively we have asked the people administering the scheme to recognise the unfairness and support our claim.
I know our supporters will dig deep to try to help us, but we are unlikely, in the immediate future, to be able to make up the shortfall in income caused by COVID-19 and that money is needed desperately by the patients and families we support. To make matters worse, I have checked with the health authority and have been told that Wisdom Hospice has yet to receive their share of the COVID-19 emergency government support grant.”Martyn Reeves Chief Executive of The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice
The community hospice was opened by The Queen in 1984, following a public fundraising campaign led by Molly Wisdom. The campaign raised £700,000 to cover the cost of the building, which was then gifted to the local health authority to provide hospice services.
There are currently 230 hospices in the UK providing end of life care to their communities at a cost of £1.4 Billion per year. The government contributes £350 Million towards these costs. Over £1 Billion is raised each year by the hospice charities through a variety of fundraising events to meet the shortfall in funding.
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The Wisdom Hospice is the only adult hospice serving the residents of Medway & Swale, providing specialist palliative care to patients with life-limiting conditions. The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice contributes towards the running costs of the hospice with an annual grant made to Medway Community Healthcare. The grant for the current year is £670,000. In addition, and when funds allow, The Friends fund extra equipment and facilities that fall outside of the NHS budget.
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The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice Limited
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone – 07976 297586
The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice Limited High Bank, Rochester, ME1 2NU Registered Charity Number – 284894 Company Number 1632714