An update from our Chief Executive, Nigel Harding

This is by far one of the most challenging and unprecedented times that many of us have had to face and I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well at this difficult time.

At Shooting Star Children’s Hospices our main priority is to do all we can to maintain services where possible and ensure the safety of the children and families we care for, as well as our staff, volunteers and supporters. We are continuing to closely monitor developments in relation to COVID-19 and we’re following guidance from Public Health England, the UK Government and the World Health Organisation.

Please find information below outlining how the current situation is affecting Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

Our hospices

The babies, children and young people we support have compromised immune systems, which places them in a high-risk category so we are making tough but necessary decisions on a daily basis to ensure they, and their families, are safe. The measures we currently have in place are:

  • Planned respite both at the hospices and from the Hospice at Home team in the community will not be available. We will of course continue to provide end-of-life care, and emergency or urgent respite will be available on a case-by-case basis.
  • All end-of-life care, and any emergency or urgent respite care, has moved to our Guildford hospice.
  • Groups, events and Daycare has now stopped, and professional courses and study days have been postponed.
  • Counselling will continue to be provided, but we won’t be holding face-to-face sessions and key workers will still be providing guidance to families over the phone.
  • Only supported families and care staff are now permitted at the hospice.
  • We have posters up reminding everyone to regularly wash their hands.
  • We’re being extra vigilant in terms of housekeeping to ensure high contact areas such as door handles, light switches and toilets are being thoroughly cleaned.

Emergency appeal

We are a lifeline to so many families, but right now we’re facing the unthinkable – a world where our service no longer exists. As a charity we are dependent on the support and generosity of our community – we are totally reliant on donations and the severity of our financial losses due to the cancellation of events and fundraising plans, and the closure of our charity shops, is undeniable.

I promise you, we are doing everything in our power to appeal to senior MP’s and health authorities to help us, but right now we are predicting a shortfall of more than £2 million, putting the future of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices in the balance.

The stark reality is, if we don’t receive financial support in the coming weeks, we could face having to stop providing end-of-life and emergency respite care too and with the pressures facing the NHS, our services for those most vulnerable in our community are needed now more than ever. Without our hospices, the families we support will simply have nowhere left to turn. 

Please donate, if you can, to our coronavirus emergency appeal.

Our bespoke events

For those of you who are signed up to events that are run by us, like our Sunrise Walk series, we are continuously monitoring the situation and will keep you updated as and when any decisions about our own events are made.

Our shops

Following  UK Government guidance, as of Saturday 21st March we have temporarily closed our high street shops. We kindly ask that you do not leave donations outside any of our shops. Please do keep hold of them and we will be delighted to accept them when the current situation eases.

Our Weybridge office

Our office in Weybridge, where our fundraising and support teams are based, is now closed. All staff are set up to work from home, so please do keep in touch with us over email. We will still be picking up any post sent to our Weybridge office.

As a charity, the uncertainty brought by COVID-19 has highlighted how important it is to make decisions quickly and concisely to ensure we can support the families who need us now and in the future. In these uncertain times it’s important we look out for one another and do what we can to help.

Without the support from our local community we simply aren’t able to provide the vital care and support to the families who so desperately need us. During this difficult and ever-changing situation, we would urge people living across London and Surrey to support us where they can, as we really do need you now more than ever.

You can do this by donating to our coronavirus emergency appeal or perhaps you could set up a Facebook fundraiser? Those who were planning on taking part in an event for us that’s been cancelled or postponed can also still support our vital cause by taking on our virtual challenge.

Please do continue to check this page as we will update it as and when things change.

Thank you for your continued support,

Nigel

 

Last updated: 24/03/2020

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