Rallying call to help £12.5m Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal break ground on new site
- Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal/S
People are being urged to back a new fundraising drive so building work can start on a specialist hospice.
The EDP-backed £12.5m Priscilla Bacon Hospice fundraising campaign was launched in February 2019 and so far over £6.7m has been raised.
Once built, the state-of-the-art palliative care unit, containing 24 beds, day patient and outreach facilities, next to the Norfolk and Norwich University would replace the 40-year-old Priscilla Bacon Lodge on Unthank Road, Norwich.
But, as with other charities, the campaign has been hit hard by the coronavirus due to lack of fundraising opportunities amid ongoing restrictions.
MORE: Norfolk legacy to continue as £12.5m appeal launched for new hospiceTo combat the problem, the charity has launched its £3 to Break Ground campaign to help it reach £8m, which would allow building work to start next summer.
It is appealing to every adult in Norfolk and Waveney to donate £3 by the end of 2020 to help achieve this total.
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Mark Nicholas, chief executive officer of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice fundraising campaign, said: “Like all charities, our fundraising capacity has been affected by the pandemic. For that reason, we want the £3 to Break Ground campaign to reach as many people as possible.
“Over the year, many thousands of people would have interacted with the charity at events, where small sums would have been donated by numerous individuals. The cumulative effect of this would have made a significant difference to the campaign.
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“By donating less than the price of a pint now, you make it possible for us to break ground next summer.”
South Norfolk Council initially granted outline planning permission for the hospice in 2018 and an amended application was submitted, and approved in December 2019 by the same authority.
MORE: Covid pandemic underlines need for new hospice in Norfolk and WaveneyDavid Powles, editor of the EDP and Norwich Evening News, said: “This is such an important campaign for Norfolk and I’m proud we are able to put our full support behind it.
“All of us would hope to never need to call upon hospice support for ourselves or our loved ones. However, sadly many of us will need to, and if that time comes, it’s vital the care provided is of the highest possible quality in the best possible surroundings. That is something this hospice would provide.
“Thousands have so far shown great generosity to get this campaign to the level it is at, I just hope we can give it another little push to get to the next stage.”
Due to lockdown restrictions the charity’s seven charity shops around the county were closed but in June they began to reopen.
And despite the temporary closures, the charity sorted through a record amount of stock which donated to the organisation off the back of its Spring Clean for Priscilla Bacon Hospice campaign which was launched in March.
The network of charity shops put 93p in every pound towards the appeal.
MORE: Halfway point reached in £12.5m hospice appealDonations for the campaign have also come from individuals, community and county-wide events, big and small, and businesses.
These included a £500,000 boost from an anonymous donor, an online garden competition, judged by broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh, a Pink Priscilla Day, where people and businesses were encouraged to wear pink for the day to raise awareness and a 5K virtual race.
Mr Nicholas added: “The campaign is being supported by all sections of the community; whether it is the pennies and pounds dropped into our collection tins spread around the county, or the events which individuals and groups are organising to raise funds for our appeal.”
MORE: New boss appointed to turn £12.5m hospice vision into a realityThe original Priscilla Bacon Lodge on Unthank Road, opened in July 1979.
It is named in honour of the late Priscilla, Lady Bacon, from Raveningham Hall, between Norwich and Beccles, who led the fundraising appeal for the original hospice.
The keen gardener and patron of the charity collected rare species of snowdrops, the symbol of the fundraising appeal, and used to take cut flowers from the gardens at Raveningham while visiting patients at the lodge.
She died at Priscilla Bacon Lodge and her daughter-in-law, Lady Bacon, took over as president of the charity in 2000.
Why Norfolk needs a new end of life hospice?
An ageing population and impact of the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for a new hospice.
Mark Nicholas, chief executive officer of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice fundraising campaign, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic reduction in appointments and treatments for cancers and other life-limiting illnesses and the consequences will be felt for years to come.
“With only 16 specialist care beds for a population of over one million, the need for the new hospice is now even more desperate.”
Since the lodge was built 40 years ago on Unthank Road, the population of Norfolk has grown by 220,000, creating a level of demand that cannot be met in a building which has become inadequate both in scale and configuration.
The lodge also cannot be extended in its current location.
There is also a need for increased specialist end-of-life care in the county, according to the appeal.