Clair’s January column

As a charity, we are largely reliant on voluntary fundraising, grants and donations to ensure we can keep providing our service to families.

We do get some statutory funding, from NHS providers and local authorities, but this only equates to about 11% of the annual running cost of the hospice. So the support we get from the public is paramount to ensuring we are here to provide the care children and young people with life-limiting conditions need.

It means we’re always very appreciative of the generosity of individuals, groups and companies around our region, but this week we have been taking some extra time to say thanks to all our supporters, and share some of the impact the money they have raised has had on families.

Between May 2020 and April 2021, we cared for more than 420 children and young people, accepted 74 new referrals, and provided bereavement support to nearly 120 families.

Our doctors and clinical nurse specialists had over 7,400 contacts with families and clinicians in the community, while there were also nearly 3,500 nursing support contacts and more than 2,200 family support contacts.

But what do those figures mean on an individual level? It means that if a child becomes more unwell in the middle of the night, their worried parent can ring us and speak to one of our care team for advice 24/7.

It means a family can come to the hospice and enjoy time together. Parents can be ‘mum and dad’, instead of 24-hour carers, siblings can have some ‘me’ time, and their poorly child can enjoy activities in an environment suited to their needs, and with expert care from our specialist team.

It means one of our doctors can work with a family whose child is struggling with distressing symptoms, to try new medications or treatments that could give them some relief.

It means families can get support in their home from our community team.

It means when a family is facing the devastating news that they are losing their child, our staff can support them, and help them make the decisions that are right for them about where they want to be to receive care.

And it means a family struggling following the death of their child can receive our bereavement support, to help them through their grief.

None of this would be possible without the incredible support of people across our communities. Whether that’s holding coffee mornings or bake sales, individuals taking on physical challenges, signing up to one of our fundraising events, or companies nominating us as their charity of the year.

Whether people donate to us each month, or just once, if they buy from, or donate items to our shops, buy our Christmas cards or volunteer with us, their actions mean families across West, North and East Yorkshire have access to expert palliative care, when and where they need it.

We know lots of people have really struggled through the last two years because of the pandemic, so it means all the more that they have still found ways to fundraise and support us through it all.

Thousands of hours have gone into raising this money for us, and a huge amount of effort, and we want people to know how much it means to us.

So on behalf of the families who use Martin House, and all our staff, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone for their continued support. We really couldn’t do it without you.

Clair Holdsworth

Chief Executive

This was first published in the Yorkshire Evening Post

Image of Clair Holdsworth in front of Martin House backdrop.

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