Arthur Rank Hospice Charity issues SOS

Cambridgeshire’s only adult Hospice has issued an urgent ‘SOS!! Support Our Services’ appeal in response to the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the Charity’s ability to fundraise for its vital services this year.

The Hospice provides care and support services to patients with an advanced serious illness or a life-limiting condition, and provides end-of-life care, typically to people who are in the last two weeks of their life. In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Hospice has had to reduce many of its services to protect the safety of its patients whilst simultaneously refocusing on the core healthcare needs of the County.

In just one month (from February to March 2020), demand for the care that the Charity provides within people’s homes (observing strict infection control procedures) has increased, as seen in the 61% increase in the number of referrals to the Hospice at Home night service. Calls to the Hospice have also increased, as demonstrated in the 27.5% increase in the length of time spent on triage calls by the Arthur Rank Community Team. Despite the difficult circumstances, in March the Inpatient Unit still provided care to 27 patients with complex end of life needs, alongside 19 patients in nurse-led beds.

Strict restrictions have had to be introduced for visitors to the Inpatient Unit and care staff across all services are struggling with the harsh reality of not being able to offer a comforting hug, or a hand to hold, to family members and their loved one, at moments of heart-breaking loss.

The Hospice’s Voluntary Services team’s newly launched ‘Caring Communities’ scheme has moved to offering their services over the phone, and have additionally introduced a new telephone befriender role to support Arthur Rank Hospice patients at risk of loneliness and isolation. Retired staff, GPs and student Doctors have volunteered for clinical roles and administrative and fundraising staff have been redeployed to further support clinical teams. Local businesses have rallied around the Hospice, donating essential items such as PPE for clinical colleagues and iPads for patients enabling them to communicate with loved ones.

The clinical team are working closely with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Commissioning Group (CCG), Addenbrooke’s Hospital and social care networks to ensure the Hospice is doing everything it can to support the healthcare needs of the wider Cambridgeshire population.

None of what is happening now would be possible without the dedication, commitment and generosity of the local community, who passionately support the Hospice to fundraise £3.98 million each year, which together with the contracted funding from the CCG enables it to deliver its full range of services.

Initial financial forecasts have identified that the Hospice will lose at least £700,000 of potential income over the next six months. This is due to scores of fundraising events and personal challenges having to be cancelled; the closure of the Hospice’s charity shops and Bistro; and the cancellation of training and conference events which were due to take place in its Education and Conference Centre.

Sharon Allen, CEO adds:
“The adverse circumstances in which we find ourselves seem to change hour by hour, whilst the admiration I have for each of my colleagues grows every day, as they constantly adjust, evolve and innovate.

We need to ensure that we can carry on delivering essential care and services now, whilst also ensuring that services remain sustainable into the future. We truly hope that the people of Cambridgeshire will answer our SOS!!”

To find out more about, or donate to, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s ‘SOS!! Support Our Services’ appeal, please visit