'The hospice isn't a scary place' - The Elmer trail will help bust myths
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 February 2019
An Ipswich hospice has revealed it is expecting patient demand to double over the next years - meaning they need to raise as much money as possible from this summer's Elmer's Big Parade - Suffolk.
But more than that, St Elizabeth Hospice is hoping the art trail will help break down barriers and get across the message that this is not simply a place where you go to die.
The Elmer trail follows on from the success of Pigs Gone Wild which drew crowds of enthusiastic pig hunters to Ipswich town centre in 2016 and raised more than £200,000.
Adrian Rawlinson, Head of Communications at St Elizabeth Hospice, acknowledges that, although this sum was a “fantastic” figure, it was just a fraction of the £10.5million needed to keep the hospice running each year.
He is banking on the fact the Elmer trail will raise an even greater sum and, like its predecessor, help dispel some of the myths people still have about the hospice, which is based in Foxhall Road.
He said: “We will have an app for the trail which we will use to deliver messages about the hospice. We want to get across that the hospice isn’t a scary place.
“Ultimately we want people to come to the hospice and see the place so they know a hospice isn’t about death, we have relationships with people for years. We don’t let death kill life.”
Around 70% of the work that St Elizabeth Hospice does is community based and in the spring they will be opening a new information centre, shop and café on the site of the old post office in Heath Road, Ipswich in order to further their reach.
Adrian said: “Lots of people are too scared to come down the drive to the hospice, this will be a place for them to find out more about the community services the hospice offers.”
He explained that during the two years of planning that goes into each trail there is a heavy focus on getting the hospice’s key messages out into the community, particularly to younger people.
In 2019 the hospice will start offering restbite care breaks to young adults, while continuing to offer care to those aged 15 and over. They also are continuing to share their message that there is ‘no place like home’ which means when patients reach the end of their life they can choose to spend their final days in the familiar surroundings of their own home.
A mammoth 250,000 people engaged with Pigs Gone Wild and Adrian expects the parade of 50-plus Elmers and 85 smaller junior Elmers will attract even more people to Ipswich this summer.
Elmers Big Parade will run from June to September 2019 and there will be two other similar parades in Plymouth and Tyne and Wear. Artists are already beginning work on their designs.
Schools and youth groups across Suffolk will be given a blank junior Elmer to design if they pledge to raise £750 for the hospice.