I was so excited. In 2020 I was due to get started on a long term blog partnership project with a difference – something I had my heart set on for a while and which would bring together my blogging platform, my local community and a drive to use my voice for good.
I had been in discussions since late 2019 with Ellenor, a hospice charity right on my doorstep in Gravesend in Kent, to learn more about Hospice care, to raise awareness through my platform, to champion the fundraising efforts of Ellenor supporters and perhaps even raise a few pounds too.
Fundraising for the Hospice is as core to the people of Gravesend as Pocahontas; as a young child I was involved in annual garden parties held by my neighbours; right through my teens and into adulthood. Christmas would always feature a raffle for the hospice, and the local events such as the Twilight walk have become something that turns the whole town Orange.
Of course none of us could have predicted the turn of events that would slam on the brakes for obvious reasons; the global pandemic Covid-19 which would keep unnecessary visitors like me well away from the hospice, which although a dissappointment for me, is the least of the hospice’s worries right now.
In my early conversations with the team behind Ellenor Hospice, I just scratched the surface in finding out a little of what the Hospice provides both my local community and the wider Kent area.
For starters, my limited knowledge of hospice care had assumed this was a sad place which provided comfort to those needing end of life care, but I was wrong.
Yes, a hospice does provide end of life care, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of the care and respite this wonderful place can offer. I learnt that many of the 3000 patients are cared for at home, in their own environment using the hospices resources, and that many of the patients are in fact babies and children, making Ellenor the only hospice in Kent which offers care to all ages AND the only children’s hospice team in the UK who provides care for children with cancer from the day they are diagnosed. This means that their nurses work very closely with acute hospitals and larger cancer centres in London to provide chemotherapy and other curative treatments to children at home, enabling them to spend more time at home with their families and less time in hospital .
The overwhelming feeling inside the hospice itself is not at all how I had imagined. There is a warm and friendly atmosphere; a sense of peace with smiling faces and beautiful artwork all around a central open space where day therapies take place and tea room to enjoy refreshments in a relaxed space together. A beautiful garden is accessible for patients and day visitors to enjoy, and this is used in some of the therapy sessions which I was eager to find out more about, and was planning to do exactly that.
As my journey with Ellenor is just beginning, they are facing a huge financial crisis. With all but one of their 13 charity shops closed and many of the upcoming fundrasing events cancelled, the charity’s required £7 million required to keep existing services running are under serious threat. It is predicted over the next 3 months alone a deficit of £1.1 million can be expected which is a devastating blow to a charity like Ellenor Hospice which relies heavily on fundraising to maintain it’s very existence.
“As healthcare professionals, our duty is to our patients – and we refuse to allow this virus to stop us from caring for local people who need us. We are not going to be able to care for them unless we receive help and support from our community – urgently. “
To fight against the impact of Coronavirus to our well loved community Hospice, they have launched an emergency appeal #EmergencyFightingFund and are calling on local supporters to make any donation they can afford, if they can afford to.
I know, as a Gravesend girl through and through, there is no one who has not been touched in some way by Ellenor’s incredible work. We all know someone who has been cared for in times recent or past, and it is one of the reasons that fundraising events locally always drum up an amazing response from our town. Whether in memory of a loved one, to say thank you, or to ensure this gem in the heart of our community is always available to those we love in the future, the hospice needs us now, more than ever.
So please, think twice about clicking on another online purchase, spare the cash for your Friday pub drinks, or donate the money you would have spent on Easter eggs that you won’t be able to deliver this year. If you can, please remember our Ellenor Hospice.
Please share this appeal wide and far. They help us, now is the time to help them.
To make a donation, click through to Ellenor Hospice donations page here: https://ellenor.org/donate
From them, and from me, Thank you.