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A Christmas and New Year message from our Chief Executive

Saturday 23 December


As the festive break draws near and Santa is loading his sleigh and checking his route on Google maps, it’s time for me to wish you good tidings and say a big thank you for helping us to achieve so much in 2017.

This year has seen us launch a new five-year strategy (2017 – 2022) with one over-arching ambition; to ensure that our communities have the best care and support before, during and after death.

Our three primary aims are to lead on new models of care and support; to nurture compassionate communities and to share our expertise locally, nationally and internationally. To help us deliver these aims we want to reach out to new and existing supporters to help us build awareness and support and increase our income in an ever-challenging economic climate.

Work is well underway to lay the groundwork for our aspirations and we have already made significant progress. Within our Hospice at Home service we are establishing new locality teams to increase the responsiveness of the support we provide to people in the last few weeks of life who want to remain at home with their loved ones.

We are focussing on Community Engagement so that more people in our community can be better supported when frail, lonely or isolated, or experiencing grief and loss. Our Community Engagement team has been developing and sharing ideas with our partners and other hospices to create an exciting new programme of opportunities.

Since the launch of the first two Bereavement Cafes in October 2016, three additional cafes have opened within our care area with a further seven in the planning and discussion stage.  These ‘open to all’ monthly drop-in cafés offer the chance for people to meet with others who understand the experience of loss and to find mutual support when they need it the most.

We know that our ambitions need to be matched with an increase in funds to support it and we’ll have to grow our annual income by creating new fundraising campaigns, opening more shops and by increasing our income from legacies, all of which will give us the confidence to plan well into the future. This year we have opened three new shops under the banner of ‘Alice’s Attic’ which now brings our shop portfolio to an impressive 47.

This is just the tip of the iceberg so watch out for further information about our strategy and planned activities in the New Year.

I am always in awe of our incredible volunteers, without whom, we could not operate. They have participated in strategic planning, supported a new work experience programme, joined new and existing volunteer teams and continued to deliver innovation, care and support. That, of course, is in addition to giving their time, skills and energy to supporting patients and their families and friends.

And we simply could not achieve any of this without the loyal and outstanding support of our many supporters who have helped to raise vital funds by taking part in one of our challenges or fundraising events, or by holding their own fundraisers. This year a record number of supporters signed up for our recent festive Santa Fun Run, with over 1,000 people taking part in the three 5K events in Bushy Park and Richmond Park.

Last year, because of this unstinting commitment, our specialist teams made over 15,200 home visits – helping to care for some 2,200 patients in their homes; our social work, chaplaincy and bereavement care teams provided more than 8,900 support sessions and we were able to care for more than 460 patients with complex needs in our wards.

When reflecting on what’s been happening over the last year, there is so much to be proud of and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what we can all achieve, together, in 2018.

I wish you all a peaceful and merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Nicki Shaw

Chief Executive