Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice relishing funding boost
PUBLISHED: 09:24 03 May 2013 | UPDATED: 09:25 03 May 2013
The work of Greenwich and Bexley Hospice in the community is invaluable but the cost of running such an organisation is enormous.
So when staff and patients found out they would be receiving a cash injection of almost £1million from the Department of Health, they were delighted.
The amount, of £944,180, was the highest awarded to any organisation from a pot of £60million, ring-fenced by the government this year for hospice care.
Greenwich and Bexley cared for 2,500 patients last year, across both boroughs and further afield.
Hospice chief executive Kate Heaps said: “This news is amazing. Making life easier for our patients is the most important thing and we will build a purpose-built gym so our physiotherapist and occupational therapist can do more group work with patients. Having the chance to go on equipment like exercise bikes will also help our patients with their fatigue and fitness.”
Hospice users mainly receive care at home but there is a day care centre and inpatient and outpatient care at the organisation’s main site in Abbey Wood.
The money will also be spent on improving access to the centre and refurbishing the kitchen and garden, as well as a hub to “demystify” the hospice to the community.
Kate believes the area’s demographics played a part in the amount awarded.
“Bexley especially has an ageing population and the average age of death is likely to rise in years to come. There will probably be more old people with long-term conditions who need to be looked after in their final years and this cash will help us.
“I’d like to think we’ve got the biggest grant because our proposal was the best but we haven’t received full feedback yet.”
The hospice does not charge for its services and needs to raise £4 million a year to keep operating – only a third of its funding comes from the Department of Health.
The money from the capital grant must be spent on building work but Kate hopes the improvements will make them “more efficient while creating better conditions for the patients”.
One of the patients, 78-year-old Jean Richardson who suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphona, is delighted the hospice will receive the funding injection.
“The hospice brings the community together and I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done for me.
“The changes are very exciting.”
Physiotherapist Kate Smith said: “The most important thing is that it will help our patients regain or maintain their independence.
“The money will allow us to have a dedicated space for physiotherapy or occupational therapy with more appropriate equipment, and that can only be a good thing.”
The hospice still needs planning permission. It is hoped work will start at the end of this year, finishing in 2014.