Hospice jobs could go as recession bites

BOSSES at a Suffolk hospice have warned they will have to cut jobs unless they can turn around a slump in donations caused by the recession.

James Mortlock

BOSSES at a Suffolk hospice have warned they will have to cut jobs unless they can turn around a slump in donations caused by the recession.

St Nicholas Hospice Care revealed today that - alongside many other charities and businesses - the global recession was having an effect on its income, with donations down across all areas, including investments and savings.

Chiefs at the Bury St Edmunds hospice, which provides a vital role in caring for terminally ill people, pledged to do their utmost to protect jobs but warned that unless donations increased redundancies could not be ruled out.

Staff and volunteers have been fully briefed about the situation and of the precautionary plans being implemented by the trustees and senior management to prepare the hospice for the coming financial year. And patients and their families have been reassured that their care was of paramount importance and would not be compromised.

Barbara Gale, the hospice chief executive, said: “We are in an unprecedented global financial crisis, which changes daily and unfortunately hospices are not immune to the effects of a recession on their income. We are doing all we can to protect jobs and although I can confirm we are not making redundancies at the moment, we can't rule this out.

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“We need the community to get behind us in this difficult time. Patient and family care will always be our principal concern and at the heart of all our plans. Staff and volunteers are being kept fully informed and with the backing of our community of loyal and wonderful supporters we are confident we can weather this storm.”

Paul Abbott, fundraising director, said: “Now more than ever, in this our 25th birthday year, we need the local community to help us fundraise. We have recently launched an 'it's a piece of cake' to give �3 a month in a standing order appeal, which TV chef, Nigella Lawson, has kindly lent her support to.

“We will be asking everyone in the community to sign up and hope they respond. There are a whole host of other ways people can help us to raise the �10,000 a day we need to operate. People can organise their own events, support our challenges, donate online, use our eight retail shops, sponsor a friend or family member's fundraising efforts, join our lottery or leave us a legacy. We urge local people to get behind us and help secure this critical service. St Nicholas Hospice Care is your local charity and we need your help”.

Measures put in place to cuts costs include a recruitment freeze. The organisation receives committed funding from NHS Suffolk which equals 25% of its total running costs, leaving �3.7 million a year to raise.