‘You have kept us going over these past weeks’: hospice nurse’s touching message to Sussex supporters as emergency appeal raises over £140,000
A Covid-19 emergency appeal launched by St Peter & St James Hospice has raised over £140,000. The appeal, featuring a plea from Claire Birnage, a nurse on the hospice’s Inpatient Ward, was shared across the community at the beginning of April, urging people to give generously to help the much-loved charity through the ‘biggest challenge in its history’ and future proof its vital services. Since the launch, the hospice has received thousands of donations from local families and well-wishers.
The charity, based in North Chailey, receives limited government funding and offers a range of expert support for adults living with terminal illness, as well as their families, in Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Lewes, Uckfield and the surrounding towns and villages. Throughout the pandemic, its community and wellbeing services are being delivered remotely and by telephone. The Inpatient Ward, where people are admitted for either symptom control or end of life care, remains open, with social distancing and infection prevention measures in place for all. As well as continuing to care for its own patients, the team have been supporting the wider nursing effort in Sussex, stepping in to look after vulnerable people transferred to the hospice from local hospitals, to help free up urgent care beds for those in the community who have required them for Covid-19.
In a touching video update, shared across the hospice’s social media accounts on International Nurses Day on May 12, Claire spoke of the ‘overwhelming’ support received in response to the appeal.
‘Today is International Nurses Day, which exists to mark the contributions nurses make to society,’ she said. ‘I’m incredibly proud to do a job that I absolutely love, and to work with such wonderful colleagues. It also feels very important to say that nurses like me would not be able to do this job without people like you, particularly during these tough times. So thank you for donating towards our vital services, for ensuring I can be there for vulnerable local families, and thank you especially for the endless love and reassurance you have given us. You have really kept us going over these past weeks.’
Barbara Williams, Chief Executive at the hospice, said, ‘local people have been simply phenomenal to us during these testing times. As well as generous monetary donations, we’ve been sent PPE, food donations, toiletries for patients, and thoughtful gifts for our frontline staff. We’ve also received cages full of preloved items like clothing, bric-a-brac and furniture, ready for when our shops can reopen. We were in an incredibly vulnerable position at the start of this pandemic, and there is still some way to go in making up income lost through the closure of our charity shops and cancellation of fundraising events, but we are in a much better position than we were, and feel greatly reassured that we can come through this. This is testimony to our wonderful supporters. Please continue to stand with us and keep us in your thoughts.’
You can support St Peter & St James Hospice through this crisis by donating online at stpjhospice.org/donate.