Nurse urges community to give generously as St Peter & St James Hospice faces funding crisis

St Peter & St James Hospice is facing the ‘biggest challenge in its history’, with the coronavirus crisis set to cause the much-loved charity an unprecedented estimated minimum loss of £1.35million over the coming months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the closure of charity shops and cancellation of fundraising events nationwide, with smaller charities, like the hospice based in North Chailey, at particular risk of grave financial consequences.

The charity, which receives limited government funding, offers a range of expert services to support adults living with terminal illness, as well as their families, in Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Lewes, Uckfield, and the surrounding towns and villages. For the duration of the pandemic, its community support 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 thorough hygiene and infection prevention measures in place for all. As well as continuing to care for its own patients, the team will be 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 require them for Covid-19.

Claire Birnage, a nurse on the ward, is proud to be the face of the charity’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal, and is urging people to give generously to support the hospice through this crisis and futureproof its vital services.

‘This pandemic is impacting all of us, but for vulnerable local people with terminal illness, those who love them, and for our charity as a whole, this is an extremely worrying time.’ She said. ‘I never imagined I would be nursing under these circumstances, but my colleagues and I will continue to provide the expert and compassionate care we are so proud of. Sadly, impacting everybody staying here, there are going to be many occasions where families cannot be together over the coming weeks. We will do our very best to facilitate connection between families and friends in other ways, and will bring everyone we look after as much love, comfort, joy and reassurance as we possibly can during the unsettling days ahead.

‘I am incredibly proud to be on the frontline during this effort, and to be easing the pressure on our local hospitals, but to put it simply, we cannot do this alone. We rely on our generous community to cover over 80% of the hospice’s running costs and now – more than ever – as we find ourselves in this extraordinary state of emergency, I need them to stand with us and give generously.’

You can support St Peter & St James Hospice through this crisis by donating online at