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Gareth’s blog: Fighting for funding

When we say, ‘only 10% of our funding comes from the government’, what does that actually mean?

After 6 months in post as CEO at Forget Me Not, the single biggest frustration for me has been funding (or the lack of).

We often talk about the fact that only 10% of our funding comes from the government – but actually, in the year ahead, even this is fragile.

Of that 10%, the lion’s share comes from the NHS England ‘National Children’s Hospice Grant’ and is currently £550,000. The rest (around £48,000) comes from the local healthcare system.

Yes, you read that right, £48,000 (0.8% of our income) comes from the local healthcare system.

In 2023 there was a lot of national coverage about the potential removal of the national children’s hospice grant but to our great relief, eventually the decision was reversed, with a guarantee that we will receive it in the year ahead. As I write this however, we’re yet to receive confirmation of that funding: whether we will get it, how we will get it and how much it will be. Our new financial year starts on 1st April and this lack of any certainty about how much we will receive makes it almost impossible to budget. 

Acting now to protect our future

This year, we’re starting to roll out plans to diversify and significantly increase our income. This is essential if we’re to protect our future. We’ll be looking to do more of what we already do – like opening more shops and putting on more fundraising events but we will also be looking at other ways of generating income.

Our story so far is built on the incredible support of our local community, and while we shouldn’t have to depend on you – we need that support more now than ever, as we fight on every front to be more sustainably funded for the essential work that we do to support children and families right here in West Yorkshire. That includes:

  • lobbying nationally with support from national charities like Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK
  • making our case locally at local authority and West Yorkshire level
  • working closely with stakeholders within the health and social care system to ensure that we are more integrated into that wider system
  • collaborating with other hospices in West Yorkshire (10 of us in total) to create a shared voice.

We’ll never stop fighting and we know that our incredible supporters are right behind us.

Going the extra mile

In my last blog, I was just about to embark on our Extra Mile Trial challenge. And what a month it’s been! In February, I’ve clocked up just over 300 miles (nearly 500km) of walking and cycling – which I’ve worked out is the same distance as walking from Russell House to Dundee in Scotland or Torquay on the south coast! I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the challenge and can certainly feel the benefits of a month of full-on exercise – although I might have a few days off in March!