Maintaining Social Priorities

I am delighted to hear that David Cameron has pledged to continue children’s hospices section 64 funding after the next election.

It is a matter of public shame that children’s hospices in the UK receive less than 20% of their funding from public or statutory sources, whereas adult hospices are funded publicly to over 35%.  Children’s hospices don’t just provide palliative and end of life care but also offer a wide range of support and counselling services to children’s families.  Their need for public support is in many ways even greater than adult hospices. 

Providing help to children and the families of children with life limiting conditions is a cause that crosses political boundaries, just as the terrible grief that comes with the loss of a child is also something that transcends social divisions. 

I am privileged to have been able to serve East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) for the last 5 years as a trustee.  EACH serves over 300 families a year at its 3 hospice sites in Milton, Quidenham and Ipswich as well as in the community.  EACH enjoys enormous popular support in the region and some 75% of its income is generated by ordinary men, women and children through friends groups, workplace giving, Santa runs and the like.  EACH is also establishing itself as a commissioned care provider for PCTs and social services and this provides around 10% of operating income. 

Section 64 funding (which was provided to “plug the gap” when lottery funding ended) provides a baseline funding stream that enables the charity to fund a number of core services.  Without it, EACH would not be able to provide the quality and extent of care it now is able to deliver.   The Conservative commitment to maintain this funding through any transition in government is welcome news indeed.

Read the news from Children’s Hospices UK here.

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About Stephen Oliver

I am a management consultant/non-executive director and charity trustee based in Switzerland.
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