People in North Devon urged to support their local hospice or face the loss of its services

North Devon Hospice CEO Stephen Roberts says the charity needs a surge in local support. Picture: North Devon HospiceNorth Devon Hospice CEO Stephen Roberts says the charity needs a surge in local support. Picture: North Devon Hospice

People have been urged to support North Devon Hospice or lose it after the charity posted a £500,000 deficit.

Chief executive Stephen Roberts has warned such losses are not sustainable and hopes to inspire more people to support their local hospice.

He was speaking during national Hospice Care Week this week, to raise awareness of the vital work carried out by the hospice and dispel some of the myths.

Mr Roberts said one myth was that the charity was always able to raise sufficient funds to provide the care needed, but this is under threat after a drop in donations and a reduction in legacies left in wills.

**** Watch an interview with Stephen Roberts below.

He said: “As a local charity, it is a fact that we are struggling. Every year more and more people need the support of the hospice, as sadly there is an increase in the number of people affected by life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, MND, lung disease and heart failure.

“While our doctors, nurses, counsellors and therapists do an amazing job providing the most outstanding care, we are struggling to raise the necessary funds to make that all possible.”

The charity has said while it can support the £500,000 hit for one year due to previous financial prudence, it is not sustainable on an on-going basis.

Vital services needed more than ever

The North Devon Hospice Bedded Unit. Picture: North Devon HospiceThe North Devon Hospice Bedded Unit. Picture: North Devon Hospice

Mr Roberts added: “If people believe the myth the hospice will always be okay, or that their support is better directed elsewhere, we will not be able to provide the care this community needs in the future.

“We care for thousands of people every year through the toughest of times, and with a stretched local NHS and reduced public services, our care will be more vital than ever going forward. But we can’t fulfil our charitable mission of being there for all the family without the support of our whole community.

“Raising funds is a constant struggle. We need to work extremely hard because there is a small population here and, unlike other charities that can fundraise across the whole of Devon and further afield, we are only able to raise funds from the North Devon population.

“There is a simple equation which means that less money raised equals less care provided. I know for so many local families that would have devastating consequences.

North Devon Hospice Bedded Unit nurses Cathy Whattingham and Suze Kelly. Picture: North Devon HospiceNorth Devon Hospice Bedded Unit nurses Cathy Whattingham and Suze Kelly. Picture: North Devon Hospice

“I think back to a time earlier this year when all of the patients that we were caring for on our Bedded Unit were all under 45 years old. To think of the trauma those young families were going through, and to think that someday we might not be able to support them, truly made me sad.”

How you can help

The hospice can only raise funds from North Devon and Mr Roberts urged people to show their support. He said: “So please, if you are able to support those we are caring for, I’d encourage you to visit the North Devon Hospice website and sign up for a small monthly donation.

“For the price of a cup of coffee per month, you will be helping local people get the care they need during the toughest of times.”

To find out more about the care provided by North Devon Hospice, or to make a donation towards the charity’s work, visit www.northdevonhospice.org.uk.