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Luen’s blog: The cost of living hike

With only a small percentage of our income coming from the NHS each year, ensuring there is enough money to keep the doors of our hospice open can feel like an uphill struggle. We experience this every year, but sometimes the hill feels even steeper. Covid certainly had this effect. And this year will be another challenging year, thanks to the significant rise in the cost of living.

So, as we start a new financial year, we find ourselves once again strapping on our hiking boots in readiness to climb that mountain. 

We’ve dug deep to ensure our staff can earn a decent living, agreeing a 3% cost of living rise. This is nowhere near the rate of inflation but is at least commensurate with the increases being offered within the benefits system and means we can try and stay competitive when it comes to attracting good staff. We also need to continue to develop our specialist expertise so that we remain a centre of excellence for children’s palliative care. This costs money, but when a child has very complex needs or is dying, don’t they deserve the very best?

We’ve had to budget for steep increases in our costs, particularly for utilities. Because so many of our children have poor mobility, we must ensure our hospice is consistently warm. This costs money, and from 1st April, much more than we have ever paid before.

We run a lot of community services and hospice at home services, giving people choice in where they are supported. But the cost of this has gone up too, particularly in relation to fuel and motoring costs for our staff, and for the use of our minibuses to transport children who have no other way of getting to and from the hospice.

More and more of our families are having to choose between eating and heating. As a frontline service, we have been stepping in to help where we can, organising food drop offs, providing respite and delivering treat days to give people a break from what can feel like a no hope situation. While much of this is donated by our very generous supporters, it still needs stewarding. This costs money too.

On the other side of this balancing act, we’re seeing a decline in the number of donations to our shops, particularly of furniture, matched by a decline in quality. As cost of living increases start to bite, we’re anticipating the impact on fundraising if our amazing supporters have less disposable income.

So, just as we have been incredibly resilient in overcoming all the challenges we faced thanks to Covid, we need to be resilient once again to overcome the impact of the cost of living increases for our families, supporters, volunteers and staff.

Please keep supporting us in any way that you can. This year we will be need to do so much more just to stand still. Please help us to keep climbing that mountain. You can make a donation here