A donation of more than £40,000 to hospices across Cumbria has provoked an emotional response from nurses working tirelessly to support patients and their families at the end of life.
The Cumberland Building Society has donated an incredible £44,013 which will be shared between Eden Valley Hospice, Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland and Hospice at Home West Cumbria.
The generous donation, which is being marked during National Hospice Care Week – from October 9th to October 15th – has been made possible thanks to The Cumberland’s Affinity Account savers who have chosen to save and support the local causes closest to their hearts.
Hospice Care Week provides an opportunity to celebrate hospice care nationwide. This year the spotlight is on the incredible hospice workforce.
At Eden Valley Hospice, Staff Nurse Alison Foster had a lump in her throat when the donation was announced and she was presented with a surprise bouquet of flowers. “It’s incredibly moving to think that The Cumberland have donated so much,” said Alison, who feels incredibly proud to be a nurse at Eden Valley Hospice. “It’s an absolute privilege to work with patients and families in end of life care. It is a very sad time but also a very precious time.”
It was 30 years ago that Alison first visited EVH when she helped organise a charity football match. “From that day on I knew I would find a way to work here,” she said. “On my first shift I walked 9 miles up and down the corridors – I was exhausted. But I wouldn’t work anywhere else.”
Health Care Assistant Carol Douglas has had various roles at EVH over the years including activities co-ordinator and chef – but it is on the ward, where she can connect with patients and families, that she feels most at home. “There’s a very special atmosphere here,” said Carol. “It’s very homely, calm and reassuring. We have the time to build trust, to listen, to care. They let us in – and that feels very special.”
In her role as Eden Valley Hospice Fundraising Manager, Eleanor Viney often hears stories from families keen to talk about the impact that the hospice has had on them. And she is bowled over by the generosity of The Cumberland whose donation ensures that this highly valued care can continue to make a difference for so many families: “Thank you so much. I know we say it a lot, but we really mean it. Our care is here for families because of your kindness – thank you.”
It’s all very humbling, says The Cumberland’s chief customer officer Claire Deekes. “I want to say thank you, on behalf of our members, to all our hospices for doing such a wonderful job. The care they provide, day in, day out, is incredible.”
When you think of hospice care, people’s immediate thought is of the wonderful nursing teams. But alongside the nurses is a huge army of staff and volunteers including social workers, counsellors, befrienders and housekeepers who are all incredibly grateful for The Cumberland’s generous donation.
It’s a stark fact that EVH receives only 20 per cent of statutory funding which means that, without donations and grants, the hospice could only open for 3 months a year, says EVH Chief Executive Julie Clayton:“We are so grateful to The Cumberland – and their Affinity Account savers – for their incredibly generous ongoing support of the hospice. It’s no secret that we are living through very challenging times so this donation is very much appreciated.”