Willow Burn, in Lanchester, has been awarded a grant of £10,000 through the Mid-Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) which will help the hospice to continue operating despite challenges caused by the outbreak.
The nurse-led hospice offers specialist supportive, palliative and end of life care, including in-patient care, respite, day services and bereavement and family support, and is one of few rurally based hospices in the country.
It costs £1.2 million to operate Willow Burn each year and the hospice team is responsible for raising 70 per cent of this through grants, fundraising, retail income and donations.
However, due to government restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the virus, the charity’s shops and café have closed and fundraising has reduced.
AAPs across the county have been given £1.4 million by Durham County Council to ensure local projects can continue to support those most in need during the coronavirus outbreak.
The fund helps support community and voluntary sector organisations to help them survive through this period in situations where they are having to close temporarily.
Mid-Durham AAP, through its own coronavirus support funding and Neighbourhood Budget from local members Cllr Jude Considine and Cllr Ossie Johnson, has granted the maximum available to Willow Burn to go some way in helping it to get through this period of lockdown.
Paul Jackson, Chairman of Willow Burn Hospice, said: “On behalf of the team at Willow Burn I would like to say a huge thank you to Cllr Ossie Johnson and Cllr Jude Considine and Mid-Durham AAP for supporting us with a grant at a time when we truly need it the most.
“This donation will ensure we can continue to provide palliative and end of life care, day services and family bereavement support to patients and their families, now and in the future.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those in the community who have donated over recent weeks. We are truly humbled and look forward to welcoming you to the hospice when this is all over, so we can say thank you in person.”
Derek Snaith, Mid Durham AAP coordinator, said “Willow Burn is a key facility in our AAP area, and for the county as a whole, and provides essential care at the most critical time in a person’s life.
“We are pleased to be contributing to the survival of the hospice, helping ensure it emerges on the other side just as strong and able to provide a much-valued service that many families over many years have appreciated. We hope to play a role in the near future in assisting the hospice to gain further much needed financial support in these challenging months ahead.”
Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “AAPs across the county are being given funding to award to vital community projects during the coronavirus outbreak.
“These grants help support the many community initiatives taking place to ensure those most isolated in our community are receiving provisions and support where they are unable to get out or do not have family and friends locally to help.
“The other element of the funding is to ensure organisations, such as Willow Burn Hospice, are supported during this time and are able to continue the important work that they do for so many people.”
Willow Burn is hosting its first annual ‘Willow Week’ awareness next month, from 11 May to 17 May. Willow Week has been designed to raise the profile of the hospice’s services by asking individuals to organise or take part in virtual or isolated activities to increase awareness and generate funding.
The team has also come up with ways to get involved without spending a penny, including teaching children about the hospice during home schooling or displaying coloured Willow Trees in windows. For more information visit www.willow-burn.co.uk/willow-week/
For more information about Durham County Council’s AAPs, visit www.durham.gov.uk/AAPs