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Why we are backing the Priscilla Bacon appeal for a new hospice in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:02 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 March 2019

Lady Bacon speaking at the launch of the �12 million Priscilla Bacon Hospice Appeal, John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Lady Bacon speaking at the launch of the �12 million Priscilla Bacon Hospice Appeal, John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Editor David Powles explains why this newspaper is backing the Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal.

Artist's impression of the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice. Photo: Priscilla Bacon HospiceArtist's impression of the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice. Photo: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

It’s always difficult as an editor to decide when to launch a campaign.

As I’m sure you can imagine, with the plethora of fantastic charities and organisations out there it’s something we are regularly asked to do.

In some ways it would be easy to back each one and then just sit back and watch the plaudits come through.

However, I believe that if we did that people would grow tired of us constantly asking for money and it may actually end up being detrimental to the appeals themselves.

To do properly, running a campaign also takes an awful lot of time and there is always so much other things that we have to report on.

Sometimes, therefore, when a charity asks us to run a campaign for something, the answer has to be no. And that can be a tough thing to say when you know that appeal is completely worthy and justified and you want it to succeed.

Don’t get me wrong, we will always support that appeal, report on it, give it our best and help those charities out, it is just that properly running a campaign is much more intensive, time consuming and, thankfully, impactful.

With our daily readership across print and web on our combined Norfolk titles now above 250,000, I know the difference a campaign by us can make and am always looking for ways to put that influence to good use.

And that’s where the decision to campaign for £12.5m to be raised for a new hospice for Norfolk comes in.

We were first made aware of the ambition to open such a facility around 18 months ago when approached by several of the trustees. At that stage there was still lots to do to get it off the ground, including the not so small matter of planning permission from the council.

But right from the off it sounded like something we would look to be involved in. Sadly, end of life is something we’ll all have to face at one point or another.

And a fairly large majority of us (or our loved ones) will need some form of hospice care before that time comes to a close. In a county like Norfolk, with its elderly population, that is even more true than elsewhere.

What was clear then and remains so now, is there is a desperate need for more space, more beds and possibly more people to be able to provide the level of care people demand and deserve.

While the government is pushing an agenda for more people to have end of life care from home, that simply isn’t suitable for all.

But in central Norfolk there are currently only 16 specialist palliative beds - all at Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich - when it is recommended the area should have between 41 and 59.

Just moving from the current facility to one with 24 beds would mean scores more patients could be looked after every single year.

I think it’s every person’s fundamental right to expect a certain level of care when they reach the last few days of their life. They should be treated with dignity, in positive surroundings and with their family and friends around them, if that’s what they choose.

Staff at the current Priscilla Bacon Lodge do this fantastically, but by their own admission, are working with their hands tied behind their backs.

So that’s why we have decided to fully get behind this vital campaign and do all that it takes to tempt you to part with your cash. I do so hope you can give it, Norfolk and its people some support.

To donate, visit www.priscillabaconhospice.org.uk/support-us/donate/ or to donate offline contact Priscilla Bacon Hospice on enquiries@priscillabaconhospice.org.uk or by writing to 9-11 Drayton High Road, Norwich NR8 6AH.

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