Today Hospice Care Week kicks off where Hospice UK and charitable hospices across the UK are encouraging the public to support their local hospice in whatever way they can - whether by donating, volunteering or showing they care on social media.
The theme for this year’s Hospice Care Week – which takes place from 8-14 October and is led by national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK – is “Heart my Hospice.”
Hospices across the country will be celebrating Hospice Care Week by holding a range of awareness-raising and fundraising events and encouraging members of the public to share these using the hashtag #HeartMyHospice
For example, like many other hospices Mountbatten on the Isle of Wight will encourage 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, will be getting involved by creating delicious yellow cupcakes, while Mountbatten’s ten shops will be theming their window displays in the sunshine colour. The yellow sunflower is the symbol of the hospice movement.
The Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire has created a colourful woollen garden, known as the Work of Heart Garden. The garden 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 has received over 50,000 knitted hearts for the garden which has recently been rebuilt for Hospice Care Week.
In Scotland a Hospice Care Week exhibition at the Scottish Parliament has already 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 will see their front windows transformed for the national awareness week as part of its Hospice Shop Challenge. Hospices will be 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 – there are around 2,000 across the country that help raise vital funds for hospice care.
To mark Hospice Care Week, Hospice UK will have a stand in the concourse at King's Cross station for the first time. On Tuesday staff will be handing out goodies and encouraging people to say why they value their local hospice and share this using the campaign’s hashtag #HeartMyHospice
The British public is very supportive of hospices and has considerable goodwill towards their work. Hospice UK is hoping to build on this further to encourage people to actively support their local hospice.
More than nine in ten people (92 per cent) say that hospices are “an important asset to their community” according to an earlier ComRes survey commissioned last year by Hospice UK.
More than half of those surveyed (52 per cent) have interacted with a hospice in some way, such as donating money to help support hospice care (27 per cent).
And more than a third of those surveyed (37 per cent) say they would be willing to volunteer for a hospice, with one in seven (14 per cent) saying they would be “very willing” to work in a hospice.
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of national hospice and palliative care charity 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. Hospice care 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.
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