CHIEF Executive of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, Nigel Harding, is urging the community to donate what they can to the charity as they face a very real and immediate crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, an Official Partner Charity of Charity Today’s UK Charity Week campaign, provide care and support for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, at both their Guildford and Hampton hospices and through their Hospice at Home service across Surrey and London.

The charity is a lifeline to over 700 families and the demand for their care service is forever increasing. The hospices have never been more vital to children living with complex medical conditions, and their families, who desperately need support.

Due to the unprecedented situation of the coronavirus, the charity is facing the very real reality that Shooting Star Children’s Hospices may no longer exist without urgent funding.

The charity is reliant on donations from the support and generosity of the community to keep their services running, with 90% of their income generated through fundraising. The severity of financial losses due to cancellations of events, fundraising plans and closure of their charity shops is already making an undeniable impact.

Chief Executive of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, Nigel Harding, said:

“This is by far one of the most challenging times that many of us have had to face. We are doing everything in our power to appeal to senior MP’s and health authorities to help us, but right now we are predicting a shortfall of more than £2 million in the upcoming financial year, putting the future of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices in the balance.

“To continue to be there for the babies, children and young people, and their families, who need us now and long into the future, we have already had to make the difficult decision to close one of our hospices. We have also had to prioritise those most in need, only providing end-of-life care and emergency respite. For us to maintain even this level of care, we need the help of those in the community.

“The stark reality is, if we don’t receive financial support in the coming weeks, we could face having to stop providing end-of-life care and emergency respite too and with the pressures facing the NHS, our services for those most vulnerable in our community are needed now more than ever.

“I don’t want to sound alarmist, but put simply, without our hospices the families we support will simply have nowhere left to turn.”

To support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, please donate to their coronavirus emergency appeal by visiting www.shootingstar.org.uk/crisisappeal.