22nd October 2020

Hospice celebrates donation for digital care

A Worcestershire hospice is celebrating a £100,000 donation from Barclays to boost its online care and support for patients and families in the county during the coronavirus pandemic.

St Richard’s Hospice was chosen as one of just 100 UK charities to be given the donation as part of a £10m package from Barclays Covid-19 Community Relief Programme.

Barclays were inundated by hundreds of applications from charities across the UK who are struggling to deliver on-the-ground support to vulnerable communities impacted by the crisis.

Barclays launched their 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme to support COVID-19 relief work in local communities. The programme, which forms part of their wider COVID-19 Community Aid Package, focuses on supporting UK charity partners who are meeting the immediate needs of people in our communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers.

Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, said: “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. Incredible charities, such as St Richard’s Hospice have been playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, ensuring urgent help reaches those most in need of support. As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that by partnering with St Richard’s and many other charities across the UK, collectively we can ensure that as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work are supported through this crisis.”

Virtual tai chi session

Hospice Chief Executive, June Patel, said, “We’re overwhelmed by this fantastic donation to support our care. This will have a huge impact on the amount of digital care and support we offer at the touch of a button and how we deliver it to people to help keep them, and our staff safe during the pandemic.”

Mrs Patel added,” It’s crucial for patients to feel they have a sense of control over their lives and decision-making and technology can help promote independence and address isolation and loneliness.

“Our hospice patients are some of the most vulnerable in our community, many are elderly and frail, are keeping themselves socially distanced, and often live in isolated rural areas. Using technology means we can support people virtually, where ever they are, when they need us.”

When the pandemic struck, St Richard’s quickly moved to find new and innovative ways of continuing to care for patients and families in the community and many services moved online.

These included patients being supported by online video and telephone calls; virtual group sessions for patients and carers; online training sessions around bereavement for schools and other organisations and digital learning sessions for care homes.

Other online support includes seated tai chi, nature therapy, relaxation, art club and empowerment webinars and even virtual complementary and physiotherapy.

 Patients being cared for in the In-patient Unit were equipped with online devices so they could keep in touch with family and friends.

Mrs Patel added, “As with all charities, this year has been difficult. But thanks to our remarkable supporters and additional NHS & Government funding for hospices as well as this donation from Barclays, we’re confident we’ll end the year in a strong financial position.

“Next year 2021 may well be more challenging if the pandemic continues, as we rely on fundraising events & shops’ income to fund our care. But we are hopeful that with rigorous financial management, innovative ways of working and continued support from our wonderful community, we can face the future with confidence and continue to care for more than 3,300 patients, their loved ones and the bereaved every year.”

Ross Veale, Barclays Relationship Director said “We have developed a close banking relationship over recent years and this donation from the Barclays Covid-19 Community Aid fund will really make a difference. I know the management team worked really hard in submitting their application and I’m delighted it has proved successful enabling the hospice to deliver additional benefits to the local community. “

St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with 20% funded by the NHS.