St Catherine’s Hospice has today launched its £20 million Full Circle Appeal, which will secure the long term future of the much loved charity.
Of this target, £5 million will go towards the new planned hospice at Pease Pottage.
Chief executive Giles Tomsett explains: “35 years ago, people in this community came together to create St Catherine’s Hospice.
“In doing so they changed end of life care in West Sussex and East Surrey forever.
“Last year, St Catherine’s cared for around 2,000 people, and provided support for around 1,250 people at the very end of life, but around 2,750 people who could have benefited from our care died without it. Whilst we’re incredibly proud of the care we provide, we’re not providing it to enough people. Currently, we can only help one in three people who need our hospice. This needs to improve.
“We know to reach everyone and to respond to growing demand; we need a long term solution. A new bigger, state of the art hospice offers us this.
“It will also give us an opportunity to work more closely with local partners, like GPs, hospitals, ambulance crews, local care home staff and social workers, to share our expertise in end of life care. But it will cost money to achieve.
“The total cost of a new hospice will be £16 million. Thanks to the incredibly generous support from members of your local community, we already have the land to build a new hospice on, and £11 million towards build costs.
“That leaves us with £5 million to raise. £5 million is a significant amount but with the support of readers like you, I know we can raise it. We can make sure that a bigger St Catherine’s Hospice is there for our community for the next 35 years and beyond.”
Nurse Caroline Collins explains why your support is vital. “St Catherine’s Hospice has been at the heart of your community since 1983. Last year we cared for around 2,000 people.
“We’re sometimes confused with national charities like Marie Curie or Macmillan, but we’re different. We’re a local charity with doctors, nurses, therapists and counsellors who specialise in providing expert end of life care. And in your community, we’ll be there when life comes full circle.
“I became a nurse because I knew I had something to share with others. My colleagues and I provide care for physical symptoms such as pain, nausea and breathing difficulties, but perhaps, more importantly, we also provide emotional support as people are often frightened or anxious.
“This isn’t the type of care everyone is getting though. A recent survey found nine out of ten NHS nurses have seen dying patients stranded in hospital because of delays in funding and community care.
“Wherever possible, we support local people to stay at home instead of going to hospital, helping to ease some of the pressure on local services.
“Additionally, the survey found 65 per cent of hospital nurses don’t have enough time to provide good care to dying patients.
“My NHS colleagues do their best in difficult circumstances, but knowing so many feel like this is a concern for me.
“But how do we help more people when we receive less than a third of our funds from the government?
“Thanks to YOU - the wonderfully kind people of Sussex and Surrey who fundraise or donate to us. By supporting us you help care for others in your community. Thank you.”
‘Hospice really took care of us in our hour of need’
Catherine Blackburn explains her motivation for becoming a Trustee at St Catherine’s Hospice, and why it’s important that you support your local hospice.
“I’ll never forget getting the phone call in the middle of the night from the hospital to say that Dennis was dying. Our son, Jack, and I rushed there and were with him when he died, surrounded by the noise and lights of an intensive care ward.
“Dennis had been battling with liver disease for almost a year. We had never been told he would die. And when he did it was horrible.
“After Dennis died, Jack’s grandad, David helped us both through. Six months later, David was diagnosed with skin cancer and within a few weeks we found out it was aggressive and terminal. We were scared; David was being treated in the same hospital as Dennis.
“Luckily, the consultant was amazing. He arranged for St Catherine’s Hospice to contact us. From the first contact with St Catherine’s, everything was taken care of.
“The nurses visited David at home and immediately put in place things to make sure that he was comfortable.
“When their home care and support became insufficient, they took David into the hospice to make him more comfortable. When we visited St Catherine’s it felt so different to visiting Dennis in hospital. The care felt gentle and respectful.
“Every time we visited a doctor made sure we knew what was happening. When the time came David died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. It was the opposite to Dennis’s death and I’ll never forget it. Nobody should see their Dad die the way Jack did; everybody should see their loved ones die the way David did.
“Please support our Full Circle Appeal. Help make sure that nobody has to face death and loss alone or is left with horrific memories of their parent’s death.”
‘The hospice understood my fears and honestly saved us’
Michelle Rivers explains how your support helped her and her family.
“I was diagnosed with bladder cancer last July. Just five months later, I discovered it was terminal.
“It all happened so quickly; I didn’t want to die. When St Catherine’s was first mentioned, I said ‘no’ and refused to think about coming to the hospice.
“I was scared, and thought if I came here, I wouldn’t leave again. St Catherine’s understood my fears.
“Their nurses started to visit me at home.
“My pain was awful so they suggested things to help me manage but it soon became too hard.
“It was so bad I was crying out in the night, which was causing a lot of stress and worry for my three children.
“They shouldn’t have had to see their Mum like that in their own home. It was my Mum who said, ‘enough’s enough’, and insisted I come to St Catherine’s for more specialised care.
“I was terrified, but I knew I had to do it for my family.
“I’ve been so surprised by my experience here; it’s nothing like I thought it would be. My care is completely tailored to me; I have a laugh with the nurses and even get to have cuddles with the therapy cat when he comes to visit!
“Since coming to St Catherine’s, I’ve been able to talk more openly with my family about what’s going to happen.
“I’ve made arrangements for my funeral and planned who will care for my children.
“The hospice has given me confidence and made me feel more comfortable to face these things.”