COVID has had a devastating impact on our fundraising

02 October 2020

By Beckie Wynne, Director of Income Generation

When the coronavirus hit and the UK lockdown began in March, Martin House – like all charities – faced an immediate financial crisis as we cancelled events and all fundraising effectively stopped.

As we only receive about 10 per cent of our income from statutory sources – a mixture of NHS and CCG funding – it’s no surprise that this was a huge blow.

So we launched an urgent appeal, and our community responded magnificently, raising nearly £363,000 in just a few weeks. We’re incredibly grateful that in the midst of a global crisis so many people wanted to help.

Even with this generosity, we can’t afford to stop fundraising. To put it in context, it costs around £9 million a year to run the hospice, and we now expect we will lose about £2.2 million in this financial year as a result of the pandemic, because we can’t fundraise in the way we normally would.

The reality is that we expect to be in this position for the foreseeable future, we can’t just sit back and wait.

We have to focus on what we can do to raise money, and ways people can give safely and remotely, but at the same time, we can’t be scattergun in our approach – we’ve had to modify our plans, not rip them up.

We had already been planning to try to expand our individual giving – things like our lottery and regular giving – and the pandemic has meant we’ve moved faster to develop these areas.

This kind of donating provides us with a regular income, which helps us better plan our services, and means people can donate at a level which is affordable for them, but collectively makes a big difference to Martin House.

Much tougher to replace are our mass participation events, both ones we organise ourselves, like our Dragon Boat Race and Strictly Get Dancing, and things like the Runs for All, Great North Run and London Marathon, which have all been cancelled for 2020.

But rather than focusing on what we can’t do, we’re determined to look at what we can do.

So we turned our Glitter Ball into an online event, and encouraged our runners to join our virtual running club Sole Mates, as well as tried out new virtual events, like a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

It also means a planned event like our Superdraw – which celebrated 15 years of our lottery – took on more importance, as we’ve not been able to run our raffles this year.

Our shops are more vital than ever too – they’ve been doing well and raising money again since reopening in July, and we’re pushing ahead with plans to expand our chain.

The situation means we are trying new ways to raise money, trying to be creative and imaginative in the way fundraise, and using digital platforms to engage with and reach as many people as we can.

While we know how tough it is for people, with the continuing uncertainty we all face, ultimately, without public support, we cannot continue to care for the hundreds of babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families who rely on us.

We need your help so we can continue to make a difference the lives of many local families across Yorkshire.
You can find out how you can support Martin House today by visiting our website, at