Coronavirus: Hospices and charities 'need financial help'

Media caption,
The outbreak means fundraising events have been cancelled and shops and cafes closed

Hospices and health charities have said they urgently need money to run services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak means fundraisers have been cancelled and shops and cafes closed, all of which are sole income generators for many charities.

Newport-based St David's Hospice Care has to fund 70% of its clinical services through its events and shops, which raise about £3.5m a year.

The Welsh Government said it was providing £24million for charities.

A spokeswoman said: "Applications are already being taken for our Third Sector Resilience Fund and further details... will be announced soon.

"We're also providing an initial £350,000 to support Welsh hospices through this challenging period."

St David's has now sought to raise funding through online donations so it can carry on with its work throughout Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen and parts of Powys.

"Nursing salaries are paid for by our shops and fundraising activities," said chief executive Emma Saysell.

"Due to the Covid-19 outbreak we've had to close shops and suspend fundraising so we're seeing immediate issues with cash flow and making sure we can provide the extra care we want to do to help the NHS during this very difficult time."

The aim of hospice care is to improve the lives of people with an incurable illness and despite funding issues, important work still has to continue.

Caroline Roberts, a clinical nurse specialist with St David's, said everyone is "under absolute pressure".

"It's getting busier and it will get busier and our wish is to completely support these patients and keep doing what we're doing," she added.

Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham is having to find other ways of raising the £9,000 a day it costs to run the site.

A meal delivery service has been launched as one way of fundraising.

Lauren Tilston, head of income generation, said: "Meals Matter is a delivery service to those out in the community that may be self-isolating but are vulnerable.

"So our chefs are preparing amazing meals and getting them delivered out to the community. That has another advantage - it's generating vital funds for patient care at the hospice."

Image caption,
Lauren Tilston said the hospice has to been other ways of bringing in money

Health charities have also been struggling.

Bobath Cymru in Cardiff, which offers therapy to children with cerebral palsy, has warned about possible risks to its services if fundraising remains on hold, saying it expects to lose a third of its income.

It has transferred much of its therapeutic work online instead of face-to-face.

Centre director Jenny Carroll said: "[Financially] it's going to have a long-term effect on charities for several years to come.

"It will take a long time for organisations - if they survive this huge difficulty, which is questionable - to get back to where they were before."