The acts of generosity making a difference to hospices and communities

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.
Victoria Emmerson is helping to make scrubs for the nurses at St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington

We round up some of the most heartwarming acts of generosity by communities and hospices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students at Essex schools have been busy making PPE for Havens Hospices and Southend Hospital. The items have included 150 face visors, scrub bags, ear relievers and headbands, all made for local frontline staff.

Deanes School is one of the schools producing visors for healthcare staff. Design Technology Teacher Russell McWilliams and technician Steve Saunders Saunders set up a JustGiving fundraiser in order to fund production of the visors for various healthcare providers all over Essex. Russell said, “We have raised over £1500 so far and have ordered materials that will make over 2000 visors with still enough money to make up to 6000 visors. We have had requests from 16 different health care providers all over Essex and we are doing our best to make 150 visors per day. We are currently working 6 days per week and this would never have happened if it wasn’t for the generosity of the local community.”

“For as long as there is a need and enough materials and funding, we will continue to work for the care providers and the community as much as we can.”

A former seamstress has mobilised an army of needle-workers to make essential scrubs for the frontline nurses at St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington.

Victoria Emmerson has raised enough money to secure hundreds of metres of fabric, and has been using it to make scores of scrubs for the hospice’s in-patient unit. Around 80 volunteers across the North East are currently cutting out and sewing the material into scrubs, and to make special wash bags used in the decontamination of equipment.

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “This is an absolutely fantastic offer of help which will really be appreciated by our nurses.

“Wearing PPE over traditional uniforms was proving to be hot, uncomfortable and ultimately draining and the scrubs will make a huge difference to nurses’ working life and improve even further the care they are able to offer. We can’t thank Victoria and her army of helpers enough.”

Students at Scott Medical and Healthcare College have been supporting St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth while studying at home with a ‘reverse mufti day’ with pupils from every year ditching their casual, lockdown attire in favour of school uniforms. Even the teachers got involved and sported school uniforms on the day, which raised £250 for the hospice.

During one online lesson, students received a special surprise when two St Luke’s nurses ‘gatecrashed’ to thank them for their support and take part in an online question and answer session, providing an insight into their work looking after terminally ill people who are dying. As part of the session, the nurses explained how they are coping with the changes brought about by COVID-19.

Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, said: “It’s heart-warming that these students preparing for their careers and adult lives have made such an effort to show people who are at the end of their lives that they haven’t been forgotten. We’re very grateful for their fantastic fundraising, which will help us be there for more local families who need us.”

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) is benefiting from not having to pay rent on several of its shops in Norfolk over the next few months thanks to the generosity of their landlords.

Among the landlords is Capricorn Estates, based near Cambridge. The company, run by husband and wife Rupert and Zoe Kirby, has given the charity a three-month rent-free period on three of its shops. Rupert said: “We have an excellent relationship with EACH and they provide such important services to families in tragic circumstances. This puts our commercial interests into perspective, so although it wasn’t particularly easy for us financially to waive the rents, the charity needed support during these challenging times and we were delighted to be able to help them.”

Sarah Throssell, EACH Acting Head of Retail, said: “EACH is saving just over £100,000 as a result of these acts of kindness, which is absolutely fantastic and much appreciated, although we’re currently losing around £100,000 of income from our shops every week, so we still need the support of individuals, groups, community organisations, businesses and trusts like never before. Any support people are able to offer is so gratefully received as we know these are very challenging times for everyone. A massive thank you to our landlords for their backing.”

In Glasgow, the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice along with The Salvation Army and Govan Rotary Club have joined forces to help feed families who are going without food during the COVID-19 crisis.

Every second day, CEO Rhona Baillie and the deputy CEO arrive early at the hospice and make enough soup to feed 400 and more people each week. The hospice catering team also provide 50 baked potatoes every day. The Salvation Army then collect the food to distribute to those most in need. They’ve also received food from a local community bakery and the Hilton Glasgow Hotel, whose head chef has even done two shifts on the catering van.

Rhona said: “I was saddened when I found out that families did not have enough food to feed themselves. As part of the local community I felt we, in the hospice, have a responsibility to do everything we can to help our local people.

“However, I am also aware that the hospice funds have been severely impacted by the crisis as we have had to close down all the ways in which we normally generate income to fund our services. So we decided to ask our staff, volunteers and Board members and Govan Rotary if they would donate to a Just Giving page to allow us to buy the ingredients for the soup and meals. I am utterly astounded that the current total is almost £6,755. We’ve also received large donations from other charities such as the Glasgow Care Foundation.

“This without a doubt shows the generosity of the people of Glasgow. Even during such hard times, everyone will still donate to help their neighbours. I couldn’t be prouder of the hospice team, the partnership with The Salvation Army and Govan Rotary and our supporters.”

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