Sarah Thompson St Clare HospiceThis month’s blog comes from Sarah Thompson, CEO of St Clare Hospice, a local charity which cares for hundreds of people across West Essex and the East Hertfordshire border each year.

This month we really should be celebrating; it’s St Clare Hospice’s 30th birthday, and we have just received an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission. However, due to coronavirus, we have put plans to celebrate on hold. Now is not the time.

Instead we have had to launch an urgent fundraising appeal in a bid to offset the projected income loss of up to £100,000 from cancelling and postponing many of our key fundraising events this year. This amount is equivalent of not being able to fund our Hospice at Home service for over seven weeks. Since launching our appeal, we have had to close our nine charity shops, therefore projecting a far greater loss.

In the last two weeks I have repeatedly been overwhelmed by the generosity of local people and businesses in our community, who have donated to us at a time of such great financial uncertainty. These gifts are so vital – everything changes so quickly and this money allows us to respond quickly and buy the things that we need to keep our patients and staff safe.

In these uncertain times, one thing is certain; St Clare will continue to strive in every way to be there for the most vulnerable people facing death, dying and loss in our community. Although we have had to make changes to the services we are offering at the moment, due to coronavirus, we are still running our Inpatient Unit, our Hospice at Home service and Community Nursing Service, additionally our Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapists are working to reduce hospital admissions and speed up hospital discharges. I’m immensely proud of the team for continuing to deliver outstanding care to people in our community at a time of such great need.

St Clare staff launching an urgent fundraising appeal

As an independent charity, we can only do this with the support of everyone in our local community. We’re working hard to find ways that people can support us in the coming months, and have already launched initiatives such as the ‘Virtual 5k’. Anyone looking for ideas, from donating their lunch and petrol expenditure to playing our Lottery and setting up a Facebook fundraiser, can get inspired by visiting our website