Local charity, St Catherine's Hospice, has announced it won't be holding any of its own in person fundraising events this year. This means well-loved local events including the Midnight Walk, Dragon Boat Festival, Live at the Lake and Tree of Light won't return in their normal format until 2022.
Following the news, Tom Abbott, Head of Fundraising at St Catherine's wanted to share this message.
"At St Catherine's, our community is always at the heart of everything we do and each decision we make. With the ongoing uncertainty around coronavirus, we've decided to postpone all our physical hospice events for 2021.
It's no secret that St Catherine's wouldn't exist without the wonderful support of our community. Our hospice was founded by local people who were dedicated to making sure end of life was better. For nearly 40 years, we've continued to be sustained by our community. It's only thanks to you that we can be here for people during one of lives hardest times.
Over the years I've had the privilege of meeting many of you that support us face-to-face at our events. I've heard your personal stories about why you support St Catherine's, how the care my nursing colleagues provide has made a difference to you and your families, and how our events help you honour your loved ones.
I know how much the hospice means to you, and I want you to know how much you mean to us too. You are the heartbeat of our hospice - at our events, but as valued supporters, keeping you safe, in the same way we keep the patients and families we care for safe, is crucial.
Postponing our events will inevitably have an impact on our finances but it's the right thing for us to do. Our brilliant Fundraising Team is continuing to adapt to the world we find ourselves in, and we'll be bringing virtual opportunities to you throughout the year. I hope I can count on you to support these because your support is needed now more than ever.
Last year, we had great success with our virtual Midnight Walk and our online quizzes, so we're really looking forward to joining together with you for other virtual events in the future.
The benefit of virtual events is that they're accessible to everyone in our community, so everyone can do something a bit different, and help us raise even more money.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we've seen incredible acts of kindness and generosity. All of us at the hospice continue to be humbled that so many of you are thinking of us and all the families we care for, despite the personal challenges that COVID and the lockdowns bring.
We love the wonderful, creative challenges people are taking on to raise money for us and we're here to support people to do this in a safe way. Please do get in touch if you're thinking about doing your own fundraising. We'd love to hear from you.
While we're not holding our events there are other ways you can continue to stand alongside our hospice and help us raise vital funds. This will allow us to help more people in our community facing death and bereavement. These include; playing our weekly Lottery, purchasing memory leaves to honour someone special to you, and supporting our fundraising appeals, as well as shopping on our eBay shop and visiting or donating to our St Catherine's shops when it's safe for them to re-open.
Any donation or help you give will make a difference. Sometimes, people tell me that they worry their donation isn't enough. Trust me- Anything you can give is enough, especially now. Your donation will directly help terminally ill people and their families when it matters most.
Coronavirus has hit us hard and last year, we had a drop of around £1.5 million in income.
We're working hard to recover some of this income, but it's only something that we can do together. It won't be easy, but with your help, I'm confident that we'll come through this difficult time stronger.
Your help has never been more needed in nearly 40 years of our hospice, so please continue to support us. By doing that, you're doing something wonderful that has a tangible impact for terminally ill people in your community. I can't thank you enough."