Remarkable Hartlepool and East Durham people were today praised for helping a hospice - by the boss who described them as “the best in the country”.
Every year, the supporters of Hartlepool & District Hospice raised an astonishing £1.7m last year to keep the cause going.
The same sum will be needed again in 2016, because only 24% of the £2.3 million needed to cover the current costs of the hospice, comes from NHS funding.
The hospice helps people with illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, motor neurone disease, end stage heart disease and Parkinson’s.
Chief executive Tracy Woodall hailed locals as “astounding” and described the Wells Avenue-based centre as having the best support in the country.
“Many areas of the country have hospices that are financially very well off, but personally I think we are the richest hospice in terms of the dedication towards us from our communities.
“From the day I came here I have been astounded by the generosity of the people of Hartlepool and East Durham and this generosity and commitment grows year on year.”
But in a passionate message to supporters, she told how it was vital that the support continued.
“Funding for the hospice is reliant upon the generosity and commitment from our local communities,” she said. “There is still a common perception that hospices are fully funded in the same way as the NHS is, but normally we only receive around 20% from government funding, leaving our communities a huge task of raising the further 80%.
“However, we work really hard to ensure we give something back to our local health economy through working in real partnership with NHS Hartlepool & Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group and in return we are sometimes able to access different funding streams to help keep people out of hospital and whenever they are able to, the CCG give us additional funding on a non-recurrent basis.
“This does not help in developing long term services but it does help year to year keeping the bank balance the right colour.”
Tracy added: “There has been a lot of discussion in the media about nursing home funding and the associated costs; the funding we get from Continuing Healthcare for our Alice House Care beds equates to £6 an hour and I reflect on what this can buy you these days.
“My window cleaner charges me £8 and it takes them about 10 minutes, dog walkers charge about £10 per hour and commercial cleaners about £15 per hour, what then should we expect to ensure our loved ones have excellent care in their old age?”
She told how every penny was vital including from the hospice shops which also get fantastic public support, and from town businesses which have provided amazing help.
To give your own backing to the hospice contact (01429) 855555.
Many changes over the years
Hartlepool & District Hospice has been serving the people of Hartlepool and East Durham for 35 years.
There’s been many changes, including the move from the old building in Hutton Avenue to the hospice and Wellbeing Centre off Holdforth Road.
But Tracy added: “While the buildings may have changed, the outstanding care that is provided in these buildings has not.
“Everyone who works in the hospice and for Alice House Care Agency (a trading subsidiary of the hospice with all profits being donated to the hospice) is committed to the highest standards of compassionate care possible and I firmly believe that this is what people should be able to expect in their times of need.
“Over 300 people a year benefit from being a hospice inpatient and many more benefit from Alice House Care’s services including day care, domiciliary care and recently long term nursing beds, all of which deliver exceptional care in accordance with the Hospice’s standards.
“With the demand on care home beds in Hartlepool these beds are really important to the community.”
Fundraisers back worthy cause
Backing for the hospice this year has come from a huge range of sources.
• Gillian, Steph and Stephen Ryan of Stephen Ryan’s Fruit and Veg stall in the Indoor Market who held a fundraising week in memory of Stephen’s sister Linda Chapman. It included a raffle with 85 prizes which helped to raise £1,535.
• Lee Dodgson who raised nearly £19,000 by running seven marathons in seven days.
• The friends of Bev Jefferson who raised £6,000 in her memory by holding a charity night.
• The Debbie Barrass Academy of Performing Arts which held a raffle each night of its annual show called Team DB Raise the Barre.