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 have now stopped, and professional courses and study days have been postponed.
  • We have launched a virtual hospice, including virtual groups, a closed Facebook page and an online resource ‘hub’, to continue to reach as many families as possible who are self-isolating at home.
  • Only supported families and care staff are permitted at the hospice.
  • Our care team are equipped with PPE and 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.

Government funding 

On Thursday 8th April, we were given the welcome news that the UK Government are stepping up to help charities. We are thankful that at a time when our vital services are most needed, services that play an important role in supporting the NHS, we will receive some funding from the Government. However, this funding will only help us in the short-term. We are, sadly, still very reliant on our incredible community of supporters to help us through the next few months to ensure we’ll be here long into the future. If you’d like to donate, please visit our coronavirus appeal page.

Our Sunrise Walk series

Due to the restrictions from the UK Government to minimise social contact, mass gatherings and non essential travel, we have had to come to the very difficult decision to cancel both our Sunrise Walk events in Richmond (Sunday 31st May) and Guildford (Sunday 28th June).

This has been a truly difficult decision for us to make and we realise how disappointing this will be for many of you. We know many of you will still want to support us, so we’ve launched a Virtual Sunrise Walk.

We are continuing to monitor the situation in relation to our Snowdon Sunrise Walk and we will keep you informed about this.

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 team

Following the government’s social distancing guidance and the impact this has had on our shops and fundraising, as well as the requirement to ‘work from home where possible’, we have had to make the very difficult decision to furlough some of our team under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

To ensure we have a team in place to safely continue to provide end-of-life care and urgent or emergency respite, all of our in-house nurses are now working out of our Guildford hospice, as well as many of our Health Care Assistants. Some of our nurses and carers have also been seconded to St Peter’s Hospital to support the work of the NHS.

These measures mean that we are able to retain our highly-skilled workforce and quickly meet future needs of the charity when social-distancing measures are relaxed.

If you need to contact a member of the team who has been furloughed, you will receive an out of office with the contact name and number of alternative member of staff who will be able to help with your enquiry at this time.

 

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 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: 26/05/2020

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