Saint Francis Hospice is an independent charity and one of the largest adult hospices in the UK. Their team of specialist consultants, doctors, nurses and a range of other health and social care professionals provide care and support to individuals with a life-limiting illness, as well as their carers and family members, completely free of charge.
This month, our ‘Interview with...’ is with Andy Furneaux from the Local Engagement Team.
Tell us more about the Hospice and the services that you offer?
The Hospice opened its doors over 37 years ago now. There was a real need for palliative care in this area at that time. St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, London, was probably the most well known Hospice at the time for people in inner and outer London in need of care. St Joseph’s was originally run by Nuns. Hospice care has come a long way since then.
These days, we serve the areas of Havering, Brentwood, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and parts of West Essex. Caring for Patients & Patients families living with any life-limiting illness. Cancer, Heart Disease & Motor Neurone Disease are just a few examples of the complex illnesses that patients come to us with.
The inpatient unit (IPU) consists of 22 beds, but funding wise we operate on 18 beds. We have an invaluable Hospice at Home service, where our patients receive the same level of care they would if they were here on the IPU, but in their own home. The majority of the care we provide takes place out in the community - your home, nursing homes, residential homes.
Pemberton Place is our out-patient day clinic, where patients who are well enough to live at home with their illness, come in to access all the services that are available to them.
There are crisis nurses who are contactable by phone constantly. A physiotherapy team, a family support team specialising in pre-death and bereavement counselling, and our ‘Orangeline’ telephone service for the lonely, isolated & recently bereaved.
A Hospice does so much more than you think.
As one of the largest adult hospices in the UK, there must be an enormous workforce behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly. What is the organisational structure?
Alongside all the specialist doctors, nurses, health care assistants, physiotherapists, counsellors, professional fundraisers and experienced retail staff to name but a few, there is an army of volunteers who assist in every area of the work we do. If that entails amongst other things helping on the wards, the gardens, out with the fundraising team or in one of our SFH shops, it takes sheer determination & dedication to play a part in making sure our services are supreme.
It’s been said many times that the support & care the Hospice provides is ‘World Class - Second to None’
That said, nothing happens by luck. It’s all very strategic.
How do patients know that you exist, or are they referred there following hospital care?
Every referral that we get comes from a health care professional. Your GP, the hospital where you’ve been having treatment, your consultant, a specialist. This is sometimes right in the infancy of your illness, or at end of life. The health care professionals always tend to know when it’s the right time for the Hospice to become involved in a patients care. For many out-patients, it’s to provide the support for the longevity of their illness.
I hear that only a quarter of the money that is required for the running of the hospice comes from government, with the rest raised though events and fundraising. So, you really have your work cut out. Tell us more about how you do this.
When I first came to work in the fundraising team, July 2011, we were receiving around 27% funding from the NHS/Government combined. The accurate description now is that the demand and need for our services is greater than ever, yet the funding we receive has reduced.
So there’s an enormous amount that needs to be raised in voluntary income. Fundraising plays a huge part in this, and the clinical team here are amongst the first to acknowledge this. We have individual giving, community fundraising, corporate fundraising, event fundraising, major donors too. Even ‘in memory’ fundraising and legacy. Every single department plays a vital role.
What exciting events do you have planned in 2022?
We kick 2022 off with the SFH Christmas Tree Recycling Campaign. A lot of hard work, but a great campaign. That was the weekend of the 8th & 9th of January. We also have these events in 2022; Veganuary – January, Dry January – Step Up Challenge – March, Skydive – March, Brentwood Half Marathon – March, Ride London Essex 100 – May, London to Paris Cycle – June, Go Orange – July, Havering Half Marathon – September, London Marathon – October.
What other ways do you promote the Hospice in order to raise money?
The Hospice has its own weekly lottery. Every week a guaranteed £1,000 winner. It works out £1 a week for one number, taken by direct debit at £4.34 a month with a choice of four dates through the month. You can have more than one number if you choose, giving you a greater chance of winning a Local lottery, rather than a National one! Such a simplistic way to support the Hospice and we’ve had many happy successful winners.
The Sponsor a Nurse Appeal is just as important. This enables the work that the nurses carry out both in the IPU and out in the community to continue. From as little as £3 a month, or as much as you want to do. Or of course take your unwanted clothes, books, furniture etc into a SFH shop for it to be sold on, with the money going to patient care. If you’re a UK tax payer you can even ‘Gift Aid’ these donations, which is worth even more to the charity.
Another scheme, is there must be many people reading this who are Amazon customers. Did you know you can select ‘Smile Amazon UK’ & nominate a charity of your choice and without spending a penny more for what you were going to purchase anyway, the charity (SFH hopefully!) receive a quarterly donation!
As a local business and charity, tell us the hurdles that you face?
It is true to be said that there are many fantastic local charities that do such great work. They ALL need supporting. Most of the time we’re all fighting for the same money – appealing for the public’s money. How do we make the Hospice stand out? Sheer dedication and determination. Passion and commitment. Because those of us fortunate to work at base in Havering-atte-Bower get to see, every day, how any money raised or donated is used.
Saint Francis Hospice is a very unique organisation and there are many individuals and families that need it. It’s imperative we keep this charity healthy and operational.
Like many charities, you are assisted by the support of volunteers. What kinds of people do you have helping you?
Every kind! Drivers…Gardner’s…Ward Assistants…Retail Workers…Office Admin Assistants, I could go on and on. But the two main aspects of how we view our treasured volunteers is;
A) They enable us to do our jobs far more efficiently.
B) They save the Hospice enormous amounts of salary costs.
I actually think that because they devote so much of their own time through utter kindness, they do not realise how precious and valuable they are to us. Every one of them. We often have Thank You Evenings to show our gratitude to all of our volunteers, where we, the staff, serve them for the evening – unpaid of course!
What are the ways in which people get involved with the hospice?
It’s more often than not when someone has had that connection, that care within their own family. The time has passed and they feel the need to give something back. If they’ve got just a little bit of time on their hands, they may get in contact and say they want to do some volunteering. Often people set up a monthly donation, to give a regular contribution, possibly because when it was their time to receive such wonderful care they didn’t realise it would be completely free of charge. But there is also that relationship where somebody wants to do one of our challenge events, cycling, running, skydives etc. Or where an individual works for a very successful company, has witnessed the sheer brilliance of SFH and urges their company to donate. And we as fundraisers account manage & steward and a refreshing partnership begins!
Do you offer sponsorship opportunities for businesses to get involved?
Constantly! With our Golf days you can sponsor the whole event, a particular competition on the day, or even sponsor a hole. From event sponsorship to sponsoring a whole campaign, for example our ‘Cuppa For Care’ campaign was sponsored by ‘Griffin – The Property People’ & this years ‘Christmas Tree Recycling Campaign’ is sponsored by ‘West & Coe’. We rely so heavily on local support. We find the right fit for businesses and we have some dream partnerships. One of our Patrons is Barry Hearn. Matchroom Sports are a well known, worldwide organisation. They support SFH enormously!
If a million pounds was offered to the hospice tomorrow, what would you do to improve the services of the hospice?
It would most definitely be put to vote, because there is so much that needs to be done. For example you could go down to IPU and they might need new beds, syringe drivers, or even high tech new machinery. There are parts of our building that need serious attention. We can often speak with some of our corporate supporters who may be able to save us large sums of money if they carry out these works, but that cannot be taken for granted. An enormous amount of money had to be spent on making the whole Hospice ‘Covid Secure’, protecting patients, staff and visitors for their safety. One Million Pounds would make a huge difference and could be spent on many different services from Hospice at Home, to Orangeline, to Pemberton place.
What do the next 5 years have in store for St Francis Hospice?
To build stability and longevity. All of our current staff are aware of our history, but it’s as important to all of us that the Hospice runs for at least another 37 years. There will always be a need for Hospice care in this area and we must ensure that those services are always there for the people that need them. So it’s about building and moving forward in the right direction for this amazing charity.
Website - www.sfh.org.uk
Facebook – Saint Francis Hospice
Twitter - @SFHUK
Instagram - saintfrancishospice
LinkedIn – Saint-Francis-Hospice
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!