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St Michael's Hospice to mark 20th birthday
IT’S one of Basingstoke’s most-loved charities – and there will hopefully be an even bigger swell of public support for St Michael’s Hospice as it marks a milestone year.
Thousands of people have passed through the doors of the hospice, in Aldermaston Road, since it first opened on Friday, April 3, 1992.
The hospice was created after a huge community fundraising push to raise £1.5million in the early 1990s.
The campaign was kick-started by then borough mayor Councillor Margaret Weston who raised £152,648 by May 1990 through her Mayoral Appeal.
Fundraisers then took around a year-and-a-half to reach the ambitious target, with the help of a £134,000 cash injection from the Wessex regional health authority.
Today, the hospice team continues to rely upon community support to offer their services, which are free of charge.
But, with just 20 per cent of funding coming from Hampshire Primary Care Trust, the hospice must itself raise an incredible £2.7million of the £3.3m running costs each year.
The hospice has gone from strength to strength in the last two decades, with the building more than doubling in size and a constantly growing range of in-patient and out-patient services.
Iain Cameron, director of income generation at St Michael’s Hospice, praised the 250 staff who work at the hospice and the 750 volunteers who give up their time, volunteering in many roles, from drivers to hairdressers.
He said: “Without them we would not exist. So many people help us in so many different ways.”
The hospice provides in-patient, day care and hospice at home services in addition to a therapeutic clinic, complementary therapy and medical consultations. It also provides support for families and carers, including counselling and bereavement support.
Patients come into contact with the hospice through referrals, GPs, hospitals, family members and sometimes self-referrals, after which a clinical team will make an assessment about the needs of the patient.
Mr Cameron explained: “We need support from local people now just as much as we did when we first opened 20 years ago.
“It costs a huge amount of money every day to run the hospice, and especially in this challenging financial climate, it can be a struggle to meet our running costs.”
Marketing assistant Chris Griffiths said: “We’re enormously grateful to all the support we have received over the years, and we hope that we will continue to be supported by people in Basingstoke and North Hampshire.”
The hospice, which is being backed by The Gazette as its media partner for its 20th anniversary, has a number of fundraising activities already planned for their anniversary year. If you want to donate to the hospice, visit stmichaelshospice.org.uk and click on the donate now icon.