A hug to St T’s

Hospice staff issued a heart-felt thanks to the community which has helped boost its Hugs to St Teresa’s emergency fundraising appeal to virtually £100,000.

St Teresa’s Hospice launched the public call for support after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out its ability to raise money at the end of March.

The Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free day, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

Lockdown and social distancing led to the cancellation and postponement of a host of fundraisers and the closure of its string of charity shops.

But the public rallied to the cause by donating and staging a plethora of virtual fundraisers that so far have raised £92,668.52 for the Hugs to St Teresa’s Appeal.

With some events postponed indefinitely and some cancelled completely, staff have stressed the importance of sustaining the community’s help.

St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw said: “As we approach this staggering milestone I cannot begin to thank our incredible community enough for standing by us throughout this massively difficult period in all our lives.

“They have been the silver lining and we really are touched by the response which has allowed us to continue our work to help patients and their families at their most critical time.

“As we have moved from life before COVID, through lockdown, and now to living with COVID for the foreseeable future, our efforts to raise the necessary funding will remain relentless and I hope the community will continue to support us so amazingly in our endeavours. We have no way of knowing how soon we can re-instate our traditional fundraising events.”

Funds donated to the appeal so far have ensured the hospice has been able to continue providing 24/7 care and support in its in-patient unit and in patients’ own homes, through St Teresa’s Community Hospice Services, including Hospice at Home and the Rapid Response Team. This has helped reduce the burden on the NHS at a critical time.

St Teresa’s Family Support Team has worked from home, offering telephone and video conferencing support and counselling and access to resources.

Ingenious fundraisers so far include Darlington College staff and students running a virtual marathon, Durham University’s Bioscience Society staging a Bark-off, a virtual charity dog walk, café-goers donating the price of their coffees, commuters offering the cost of a tank of fuel, people donating what they would have spent on a haircut and sponsored head-shaves and hair-colours.

This vital emergency appeal is continuing until a deficit is no longer predicted, and donations can still be made at: www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.

Anyone wanting to organise a fundraising activity should check Government guidelines to ensure it can be done safely. For help and advice contact the hospice on (01325) 254321 or email [email protected].