This week – October 8th to 14th – is Hospice Care Week, with everyone encouraged to show support for their local hospice, whether by donating, volunteering or showing they care on social media.
The annual awareness week is organised by national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK and involves charitable hospices across the country. The theme for this year’s Hospice Care Week is “Heart my Hospice”.
Hospices across the country are celebrating Hospice Care Week by holding awareness-building and fundraising events and encouraging members of the public to share these online using the hashtag #HeartMyHospice
For example, like many other hospices, Mountbatten on the Isle of Wight is encouraging people to wear or eat something yellow to raise funds in support of hospice care. The hospice’s Sunflower Café, which is open to everyone, is getting involved by creating delicious yellow cupcakes, while Mountbatten’s 10 charity shops have themed window displays in the sunshine colour. The yellow sunflower is the symbol of the hospice movement.
Meanwhile, the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, in Gloucestershire, has created a colourful woollen garden, known as the Work of Heart Garden. It was the idea of Clare Young who wanted to do something to raise awareness and funds for the hospice after it cared for her husband Ken. She received over 50,000 knitted hearts for the garden, which has been rebuilt for Hospice Care Week.
In Scotland a Hospice Care Week exhibition at the Scottish Parliament has received lots of positive attention from MSPs, including the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
Hospice shops on high streets from Basildon to Balloch have seen their front windows transformed for the national awareness week as part of its Hospice Shop Challenge. Hospices are invited to dress their shop windows with bunting and creative decorations in keeping with the heart theme. Hospice shops make up the majority of charity shops in the UK, with around 2,000 across the country helping to raise vital funds for hospice care.
The British public is very supportive of hospices and has considerable goodwill towards their work. Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “Hospices have a special place in people’s hearts, especially for those who have seen first-hand the incredible care they provide to loved ones.
“Like other charities, hospices are operating in a difficult economic environment and many are also facing additional challenges, such as those related to staff recruitment. So, it has never been more important for people to support their local hospice.
“We hope that during Hospice Care Week the public will take up the opportunity to show their affection for hospices whole-heartedly and demonstrate their support in practical ways, whether donating, volunteering or spreading the word about hospice care on social media.”
Each year across the UK more than 200,000 terminally ill people receive hospice care. It supports adults and children living with life-limiting conditions to live life as fully as possible. Its wide-ranging support includes medical care, wellbeing therapies such as massage, emotional support such as counselling, and volunteer-led support, including befriending.
● Acorn Stairlifts has a close relationship with the hospice nearest to its West Yorkshire HQ, the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, at Oxenhope. Over the past five years Acorn staff have raised more than £100,000 for Manorlands through a wide variety of moneyspinning activities. Acorn also has an ongoing national partnership with UK-wide charity Marie Curie, which operates a network of hospices providing care and support through terminal illness.
Under the partnership, Acorn installs up to five home stairlifts per month free of charge for Marie Curie patients across the UK. It allows them to remain in their own homes and receive care there, while also easing demand for beds in Marie Curie’s hospices. Acorn has also donated two specially adapted Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, one to Manorlands and the other to Marie Curie’s West Midlands Hospice. Driven by volunteers, they allow patients who rely on wheelchairs to access a variety of daycare services provided by their local hospice.