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Rainbows launches fundraising appeal in wake of Covid crisis

Jude and McKenzie having fun at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People

We have launched a fundraising appeal as our charity face losses of up to £1 million because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Since the start of the outbreak, we have suffered a huge dent in our income, and will continue incurring significant losses without donations. We are asking for people’s help as we launch an appeal.

Shortfalls have occurred because we have been forced to close our five shops across the East Midlands, mass participation events have been cancelled and we are unable to hold any fundraising events. Schools, community groups and companies cannot carry out their regular fundraising and income from legacies and our Lottery is also down. This year’s Spring Superdraw was cancelled for the first time in its history. 

Although we are not at imminent risk of closure, the long term impact for our hospice, which supports over 450 families, is unknown.

Julie Taylor, Executive Nurse and Director of Clinical Operations at Rainbows, has been a nurse for 31 years. She said: “It’s safe to say I’ve never experienced anything like the impact Covid-19 is having on nursing and care services. For the children we care for at Rainbows and their families, it’s been a desperately difficult and often heart-breaking experience. Children living with a condition that could end their life at any time already have it tough enough; this situation has made their lives immeasurably harder.

“We work to make every day, for every child, the best day it possibly can be – right up to their last. But achieving that has become so, so much harder. We’ve had to redesign every part of our care services and we’re busier now than we’ve ever been. But we’ve lost crucial income and that’s a massive worry for us all.”

The biggest change we have made is how our hospice building in Loughborough is used. Since the crisis began, we have been looking after children and young people from Leicester’s Children’s Hospital to help relieve strains on the NHS and nursing them until it’s safe for them to go home.

We have also extended our bereavement support and counselling to every local family who has lost a loved one, and last month, our At Home Support service was launched enabling Hospice Care Assistants to visit our families in their own homes. We are also providing emergency stays for families and end of life care.

“Another important change we’ve made is perhaps the most moving,” added Julie. “Normally, parents whose child dies in hospital can visit them after death in a special room next to the mortuary. But, sadly, these rooms are now needed for those who have lost their battle with the virus. At Rainbows, we have two bereavement suites – self-contained areas where children who die can be laid to rest on a specialist ‘cold’ bed. We have opened these rooms up. Although we weren’t part of their child’s care in life, we can give them a place to be with their child, to grieve and to say goodbye in peace. 

“At Rainbows, we rely on donations and fundraising to keep our services running and much of that has disappeared overnight. We’ve received some support from the government but we’re still left with a huge hole in our income. We know times are hard for everyone but we are determined to continue to be by the side of these incredibly vulnerable children, to still make every day the best it can be.”

To donate to Rainbows, visit rainbows.co.uk/donate or call 01509 638 049.