Save Our Hospice: Our campaign to secure future of St John’s

St John's Hospice.
St John's Hospice.

Today we launch a campaign to Save Our Hospice.

St John’s in Lancaster is facing a daunting half million pounds cash shortage and we need YOUR help to raise that sum and secure its future for generations to come.

St John's Hospice chief executive Sue McGraw.

St John's Hospice chief executive Sue McGraw.

The Slyne Road charity currently spends £500,000 more than it gets in through fundraising and NHS support every year to provide a vital community service that helps people and their families deal with life-limiting conditions.

The help extends far beyond nursing services with an army of volunteers offering practical help, advice and friendship both in the happy environment of the hospice and through Hospice at Home services.

So here at Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers we’re calling on you, the local community, to help Save Our Hospice through a year of fundraising, with a Festive Cake bake just as a taster.

Chief executive Sue McGraw said: “My job is to say if we don’t save this place now money is so tight and the cost of care is so expensive that we will lose this fabulous community resource.”

“There’s a gap between our expenditure and our income of about half a million pounds a year.

“We’re not saying the hospice is going to close tomorrow, we have got money in the bank but it won’t last forever.

“We have a five-year deficit reduction plan, we’ve got five years to turn this little place round without cutting the care that we do.”

In order to help today, Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers also vow to get more people leaving money to the charity in their wills as well as encouraging the local community to have donation stations in their offices – where staff, customers, clients and whoever comes through the door can drop off any unwanted clothes or rags.

Sue said: “We’ve got very used to having this fabulous asset in our local community. But you’ve got to remember not every town has a hospice and we’re lucky to have it.

“When it opened in 1986 there was this huge campaign from the nuns who started the hospice and still as you walk through the door it says, ‘Built by the people for the people’, and that’s absolutely true.

“At the time we engaged the hearts and minds of everybody to say, ‘Give us a small amount of money, give us a regular donation, give us what you can give us and we will build this place’.

“I think that message was very strong 30 years ago, but what’s happened is people have got complacent, they think we’re going to be around forever.”