Hughes backs local hospice after ‘eye-opening’ visit

Date: 21 Nov 2018


An England rugby international is backing a Stratford-upon-Avon hospice’s campaign to raise vital funds to safeguard its future.

Wasps player Nathan Hughes, who has 17 caps for England, paid a visit to The Shakespeare Hospice on Church Lane, Shottery which is aiming to raise £500,000 to help meet increasing demand for its services.

The hospice – which currently cares for around 1,000 people with life-limiting illnesses and their affected families across south Warwickshire and the north Cotswolds – has seen a 35 per cent increase year-on-year for its children’s bereavement service and a nine per cent growth for its hospice-at-home service.

The bereavement service provides support to children, young people and adults when someone close to them is facing serious illness or has died, while the hospice-at-home service enables patients to receive specialist care in the comfort of their own home.

It costs around £2.4 million a year with an 11 per cent contribution from the NHS, for the hospice to provide its full range of specialised services.

These services include day hospice, hospice at home and counselling for pre and post-bereavement support for families, young people and children. Other services include transitional care for 16 to 24-year-olds, support for young carers, and with spiritual, emotional, and complementary therapies.

Hughes visited the hospice to understand more about the children bereavement service, and witnessed the coming together of a group of children for the first time who had experienced the loss of a loved one.

This involved youngsters sharing pictures of their loved ones with each other, and using cards to write about their favourite memories.

Around 80 staff, volunteers, children and adults connected to the Shakespeare Hospice will also be attending Wasps’ Gallagher Premiership clash against Bristol Bears at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 24 November (kick-off 1pm).

“This was an experience that will stay with me for a very long time,” said Hughes.

“The visit was an eye-opener into just how important The Shakespeare Hospice’s role is in the community.

“Losing a parent or a close loved one as a child is an incredibly difficult experience to go through, and without this service it is worrying to think what support these young people would get.

“Even though the group of children I met had never met each other before, you could see the comfort and pride they took in speaking about the good times with the people that they had lost.

“If anyone out there is looking to make a difference, especially with Christmas coming up, please put the Shakespeare Hospice towards the top of your list for a donation, no matter how small it might be.”

Karen Davies, Head of Income Generation at The Shakespeare Hospice, revealed that it costs around £47,000 a year to run the children’s bereavement service.

A £5 donation pays for arts and crafts activities in a one-to-one counselling session for a bereaved young person, while £25 funds a one-hour counselling session and £40 pays for a bereaved young person to go on an outing to an adventure park or the theatre.

“Our local community is so supportive but we need to be receiving more regular donations to achieve a sustainable level of income because of increasing demand,” added Davies.

All our services are free at the point of delivery but they are not free to provide. The growth in our service is rapidly outgrowing available funds. The changes in the population’s needs are also becoming more complex.

“We have also entered a video about our young people’s bereavement service at the Charity Film Awards.  If we have enough public votes, we will go through to the second round where an expert panel will vote for their favourite. It is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of this film which highlights the service and the impact it has on families.

“We’re grateful to Nathan and Wasps for paying us a visit and helping to highlight our campaign, and hopefully it will encourage more people to donate to our cause.”

To vote for The Shakespeare Hospice at the Charity Film Awards click here.

For more information about The Shakespeare Hospice visit www.theshakespearehospice.org.uk.