“FABULOUS fundraisers” were praised as Rotherham Hospice stayed positive despite losing more than £60,000 of monthly income from its shops alone.
Footfall at the charity stores dropped in March and the retail losses are set to pass £200,000 if lockdown remains in place until the end of June.
Nearly half of the hospice’s £6 million annual running costs must come from fundraising activities, donations and shops more than £7,000 a day is needed.
Finance director Andrew Pepper said: “Our retail and fundraising income has been severely affected as a result of the pandemic, with all of our shops closed and many fundraising events cancelled or postponed.
“We are working hard as part of the health service in Rotherham to continue to provide care for the patients and families who need it during this time.
“We are accessing all of the government funding support that we can but also need support from our local community to be able to continue working for the people of Rotherham.
“Please follow us on social media and look at our website to see what you can do to help us during this time.”
New chairman of trustees Bill Patterson has a commercial background spanning 30 years in finance, sales and general management for engineering company Vesuvius.
Scotland-born Bill (57), now of Sheffield, said: “As you know, many of our local community fundraising events were postponed due to the situation with Covid-19.
“However, I am really pleased to be able to share that our fabulous fundraisers are managing to find new ways forward.”
He added: “I am very honoured to be taking on the role of Rotherham Hospice chair.
“The hospice has been part of the Rotherham community for nearly 25 years and has a very clear vision for the future.
“In order to provide our services with compassion, choice and dignity for all of our patients, we rely heavily on the support of our Rotherham community.
“I would just like to take the opportunity to thank all of our local community for continuing to support us in so many different ways.
“We have received many donations for our nursing team, including PPE visors and soft headbands. People provided an amazing response to our request for knitted hearts for our patients and families.”
One of the innovative new fundraisers is the Rotherham United lockdown quiz with boss Paul Warne and coach Matt Hamshaw as hosts.
The Saturday night events hosted at twitch.tv/rotherhamunited are aimed at all ages and have raised more than £1,500 so far.
National charity Hospice UK has provided some short-term cash through a government support programme but this does not fully cover the losses.
A hospice spokeswoman said: “This will be even more important moving forward as we enter a new phase of the lockdown. It’s very likely that social distancing will affect all shops in the high street and we are unlikely to generate the same level of shop income as we did last year.”
The hospice has been told it is unable to become a member of NHS Charities Together and so has approached the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity to explore how the two can work together to deploy resources around the borough.