A local story ... Yorkie Post ... worthy of being posted :

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/he ... -1-8871245

Yorkshire’s hospices fight back amid double whammy of challenges.

HOSPICES across Yorkshire are being forced to reconnect with the communities they serve as they face a double whammy of challenges - rapidly increasing demand on their services and a battle to attract funding.

Research by charity Hospice UK showed swathing gaps in the public’s knowledge about hospice care - with just three in five Brits knowing that hospice care is free, and 80 per cent unaware that hospices aren’t just for end of life care.

The charity said hospices are fighting to respond to the changing needs of their communities in the face of differing public perceptions about the services they offer.

Both are challenges faced by Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield as it marks its 30th anniversary.

It faces a doubling in demand over the next two decades, and is using its landmark anniversary to ensure its work does not slip out of the public eye.

Chief executive Michael Crowther said: “We currently care for about 50 per cent of the people who could benefit from our services at the end of their lives. Our problem is the way people think of hospices - as somewhere to die, when that’s only a small part of the story.

“Hospices across Yorkshire and England are real local success stories. They were a result of disruptive people who were interested in changing the status quo about how people are treated at the end of their lives. In Kirklees, it took six years, it was a real community effort. However, we still have the same problem today and that is we are still not reaching the amount of people we need to.”

Around 200 people die at the hospice each year, but it cares for around 1,500, supporting them in their homes as they face life-limiting illness. Out of a local population of 430,000, around 25,000 people regularly donate to Kirkwood.

“Hospices have an opportunity to play a key role in care going forward,” Mr Crowther said. “In the next 10 to 20 years we will have more deaths in this country than ever before as baby boomers come of age.

“Nobody would question the quality of care given at the beginning of life, and we want to ensure that quality continues to the end. That is why we need to reconnect with the community.

“We don’t get a great deal of funding from the state, it’s around 20 per cent of what we need - and in the current climate that 20 per cent is at risk. We have no indication that it will go, but we will struggle to maintain the care we already provide, before we reach out to more people.

“A lot of people already support other charities, and I’m not saying we should go to the top of the list, but there is something important about focussing on what is happening locally. Every part of Yorkshire has a hospice, and the majority of which an independent charities, that really need support.

“The central challenge in the perception of hospices as a place to die. It might be a barrier to those accessing help. When people do use our services they often say to us they wish they had come sooner because they didn’t know what we provided.”

It is a challenging time for hospices across Yorkshire. While 92 per cent of people surveyed by Hospice UK say they are “an important asset to their community”, less than half would be willing to volunteer at a hospice.

Earlier this month, Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough announced jobs may be cut as part of a restructure designed to help deal with a “significant” financial deficit.

This year also sees Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate mark 30 years. It has launched a three-year strategy for how it will meet the changing needs of its community.

Chief executive Tony Collins said: “While our services have continued to grow and evolve, demand in our district has also rapidly increased.

“It is now we need to reach out to those who face obstacles to accessing care, reach more people in their place of choice and ensure more people get the right support at the right time.”

Chief executive of Hospice UK, Tracey Bleakley, said: “The more people become familiar with the wide-ranging nature of hospice care and how it can support people with life-limiting conditions to live well, the greater chance they will know where to turn when their loved ones need this care.”

Landmark anniversary

Kirkwood Hospice in Dalton, Huddersfield, opened in 1987, after six years of fundraising. It provides specialist care, free of charge to adults across Kirklees with advanced, progressive illnesses at any time from diagnosis to the end of life.

Throughout the year, it has been celebrating its landmark anniversary with a series of events, the culmination of which takes place on December 8, with an ‘extravaganza’ ball.

All power to the grass roots !