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Luen’s blog: Funding promises for children’s hospices – updated!

UPDATE: 3rd September 2019.

Thanks to the magnificent response from families, staff and supporters who wrote to local MP Barry Sheerman, following this piece by Luen Thompson, he has been in touch to tell us he’s written to the Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dineage MP to raise our concerns about funding for children’s hospices. Well done everyone! And keep watching this space for more …

Since closing Grace’s Place, our sister hospice in Bury, I have been doing everything in my power to ensure we can protect our services in West Yorkshire from the vagaries of funding issues. The families we support deserve nothing less. This has included contacting all of the MPs in the areas we cover, all of the council CEOs, all of the mayors and all of the clinical commissioning groups. We have put out appeals to donors and continued to campaign to government for more money. So we were very pleased to hear about the £25m being pledged for hospices, adults and children’s alike this week by the Prime Minister.

Now we need to hold the government to account on this promise and ensure that we receive our fair share of any money as the funding formula is worked out. There has never been any parity in the monies given to adult and children’s hospices, with an adult hospice receiving typically 33% whilst we have this year had only 4.5%. In addition, there has been no parity between children’s hospices with some receiving up to 27% of their funding, whilst we receive only 4.5%.

Why do children deserve less than adults and why are some children’s hospices seen as more deserving than others?

This has meant that in our local area children’s hospice services are almost entirely dependent on how much bric-a-brac we sell in our shops and how many buckets we shake. This cannot be right.

We should be pushing the government to see through its promises and to consider local demographics. In areas of deprivation and high ethnicity there is considerable data available to suggest the need for our services is even higher. The demography of the area we serve, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield, Bradford and Leeds have substantial BME populations and areas of significant deprivation. This also makes it harder to fundraise, since as a local charity we can only raise funds within the populations we support. Sadly, we do not have access to wealthier parts of Yorkshire such as Harrogate, York or Richmond for example.

We need our fair share of this money more now than ever to protect our core services for the 1300 local families who need us. Families who have a child with a life limiting condition. We need to know that this is not a one off windfall and we need to know that this is not instead of the £25m promised earlier this year to children’s hospices in England by 2023/24.

Could you help us by writing to our MP Barry Sheerman and asking him if we can count on his support? Here’s a letter template you can use – you just need to add your name and email it to

Thank you.