Skip to content

Luen’s blog: Open letter from Luen Thompson

I’d like to start off by saying thank you to all of our loyal supporters who have been standing by us, so that we can stand by the NHS and the families we work with. I also wanted to provide you all with an update on the progress of our children’s hospice in light of the coronavirus crisis that we are all facing. 

With the exception of our respite care breaks, all of our charitable services are running as usual. Families and health professionals continue to refer babies and their parents to our perinatal team, SUDIC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Children) cases continue to be referred to our SUDIC team and end of life care continues to be referred into our care team. These services are sadly needed now more than ever, but we are having to use our reserves to pay for them. This is simply not something we can continue to do if we are to remain a financially viable and resilient charity.

We have taken advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme and furloughed our entire trading team, most of our fundraising team and a number of other staff members who do not provide direct care.  We now know that the government is going to provide some funding for the hospice sector and an initial payment has been made pending an award to be made through a grant based system. It is intended that this money will help to mitigate the losses we are currently experiencing from the closure of our shops and shut down of almost all of our fundraising activity. But it will not cover the entire amount. This means there will still be a shortfall in cash. Cash that we will desperately need to fund our recovery for the longer term. Across the charity sector as a whole, the funding announced represents less than 1% of the income that the sector would have generated – so applying for the funding we will need will be very competitive.

We said that we would stand side by side with our NHS, and I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what we are doing. We have been providing beds for children who would have otherwise been in hospital. We have already supported a number of severely disabled children, for example, one who is being cared for in our hospice whilst waiting for appropriate housing to be found. Another example of how we are helping is by making arrangements to provide support for a child where mum or dad has become ill, providing a short term bed at the hospice until the crisis passes. We want to do more of this and are in talks with other hospitals about releasing more NHS capacity in terms of beds and clinical teams. We fully realise how important it is to keep people out of hospital at this time.

Some of our staff have been loaned to other providers in the area to deliver community packages or help with the set-up of other services such as advanced care planning – helping people to articulate what they might want at the end of their lives. Again, this is all around keeping children out of hospital where over the coming weeks, beds will be needed more than ever. 

Our appeal is live and has been gaining traction as people see the contribution we are making. If you haven’t yet given, please consider doing so. You will be helping to ensure our future because even without COVID 19, children will very sadly still die and their families will still need our help and support. 

Find out more about our appeal

Thank you for helping us and being one of our many very loyal supporters.

Best wishes and stay safe and well.

Luen Thompson