25 June 2020

A Message from our Chief Executive

Dear supporter

As lockdown eases and we take our first cautious steps towards returning to a ‘new normal’, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you about how everything has been going for us at Rennie Grove.

I am immensely proud of the way the whole team has responded to the crisis over the past few months. Both clinical and non-clinical teams have rallied around, adapted and supported each other to ensure that we have been able to continue to give first class care to our patients and families.

Hospice at Home care

Our hospice at home teams responded quickly to the changing needs of our vulnerable patients and have continued to provide support to people at home, day and night, throughout which has been so important for these families when so many of their other support networks stopped. In the first two months of lockdown our nurses have cared for 600 patients and accepted 250 new referrals. They have made 2,536 visits to patients at home to keep them comfortable and out of hospital. They have also spent 15,609 hours making phone calls to offer further support to patients and help ensure they receive the very best care.

Children’s Hospice at Home

The families of the children we care for have faced particular challenges. Coping with the closure of schools and the demands of home-schooling, working from home and the inability to call on family or friends to help with child care has been even more of a strain for these families who are also dealing with the round-the-clock health needs of a sick child. Our children’s hospice at home team has been a lifeline for so many in this situation and has been one of the few sources of support for these hard-pressed families. During  Children’s Hospice Week from 22-28 June, we highlighted stories about how our families have coped. You can read them here.

Day services and Family Support

Our day services team has continued to offer telephone support to patients, giving advice and reassuring them about their symptoms while providing valuable continuity of care. Our family support teams have also adapted and continued to provide counselling and support to those in need over the telephone.

Our staff and volunteers

While many of our non-clinical staff continue to work from home, we have adapted our offices to comply with social distancing rules and introduced guidance on face coverings to protect the staff who need to work in the office. We are also beginning to look at how we might safely bring back some of our many volunteers if they are willing to return to their roles as they are such an important part of Rennie Grove. We are so grateful to them for everything they do.

Our shops

We are delighted that the government has given the go ahead for non-essential retail shops to open and we are planning initially to open four of our larger shops from 6 July and hope to open more in the ensuing weeks. We’ve also re-launched our ebay shop and embarked on a new venture into online retail fashion with depop.

Our fundraising

Our fundraising and communications teams have been working hard on turning our most popular fundraising activities into exciting virtual initiatives which you can join in with online and continue to support Rennie Grove. From the virtual Herts 10K and Half, virtual open gardens, and bingo to personal and fitness challenges, there are plenty of activities to get involved with. 

Although we are very grateful for the financial contribution we have received from the government, we will still have a significant funding shortfall this year and your support is more important to us now than it has ever been.

Grove House redevelopment

The work on redeveloping Grove House, which was commissioned before the coronavirus pandemic, has been able to continue slowly and we hope to be able to open the building back up to patients in safe and socially distanced ways from the beginning of September. We are incredibly grateful to all those who supported our fundraising appeal to complete this redevelopment. We are so pleased with the building but the funding crisis we now find ourselves in does mean that we will not be able to refurnish the building as originally planned. We may need to ask for the help of the local community once again to help us realise the last part of our vision for a warm, welcoming and vibrant hub for patients and families.

Moving forward

In the last year, we have seen an increase of 29% in the number of hospice at home patients we are caring for. This trend looks set to continue and when combined with the post-covid economic climate which will make income generation particularly difficult, we know there are challenging times ahead. However, we are incredibly fortunate to have many loyal and committed supporters who recognise fully what a vital service we provide for the local community. I am sure that together we can ensure the charity continues to offer exceptional care for local people long into the future.

Thank you for everything you do to support us.

Stewart Marks
Chief Executive