The next 30 years: Why your support matters more than ever
As we reflect and look back at thirty years of making every moment matter for people in Dorset with a life limiting illness, it’s also important for us to look ahead at the challenges we face to be here for another 30 years, and why we need your support more than ever.Back to '30 Years of Weldmar Hospicecare'
by Matt Smith
Chief Operating Officer, Weldmar Hospicecare
Marking a milestone in the charity’s existence provides us with the opportunity to pause, reflect and be proud of how our services have developed over the last thirty years — from what once started as a service delivered in the hospice building only, to now being delivered all across the county.
We are in the centre of our local communities and in the comfort of patients’ own homes. The evolution of Weldmar’s services ensure that patients and their loved ones can receive the same high quality, compassionate and dignified care that has come to be expected of us, no matter where they wish to receive it.
We are truly grateful to each and every person who has stood by us and supported Weldmar over the last thirty years. Whether your support is reminiscent of our first ever supporter who donated one pound to launch the fundraising appeal in 1992, or you have remembered us in your Will, taken on a personal challenge, or donated and shopped in our charity stores, we sincerely thank you.
As well as looking back and remembering the many developments in care over the last three decades, we also have to look ahead to what the next thirty years will look like for hospice care throughout Dorset, and that certainly doesn’t come without challenges.
Right now, the cost of delivering our services is far exceeding the amount of money that we are able to raise. And we are not alone. It is estimated that the 220 hospices across the UK are planning a shortfall of £100 million in funding this year alone.
Undoubtedly, there is a need for an open, honest conversation about how hospice care is funded in this country. We truly believe that we all deserve to spend the final chapter of our lives with as much dignity as possible and, although we are exceptionally grateful to each and every one of our supporters, we desperately require more reliable funding to ensure that we are here for you, for another thirty years.
Demand for our services has never been higher
The challenges we are currently facing, and will continue to experience in the future, are not just financial. The demand for our services in recent years, particularly since the height of the coronavirus pandemic, has dramatically increased.
More people require specialist support, not just for the patient but for the whole family, and clinical needs are becoming more complex. More people are looking to Weldmar Hospicecare, not just for vital clinical support, but for emotional and practical support too.
Hospices, including ourselves here in Dorset, are not exempt from the national challenges around recruitment, particularly for clinical roles. Ensuring that we have the right level of specialist and highly trained resources, to be able to support people through one of life’s most difficult journeys, is really important.
We pride ourselves on our dedicated workforce being our greatest asset and they remain the beating heart of Weldmar. But as recruitment becomes more challenging, and fewer people choose to follow a career in healthcare, we will need to adapt our approach to ensure the same high quality services remains available to those who need us most.
I imagine the feeling of uncertainty that we are experiencing today is similar to those back in 1992, when the original fundraising appeal to build the hospice was launched. It is almost impossible to envisage what the next thirty years will look like for Weldmar Hospicecare, but we do need to enter the next chapter in our story with a high level of optimism.
One thing that is certain is that the value of your support and your continued loyalty to Weldmar is so gratefully appreciated. And, in the meantime, despite the challenges that we are continuing to face, we will continue to provide outstanding frontline care throughout Dorset, always keeping patients and their families at the heart of all we do.
Your continued support is essential
We would not be able to deliver any of our services if it wasn’t for our Weldmar community. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—you are such a key part of our family. Whether we have cared for someone close to you, or you have decided to support Weldmar for any other reason, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
For the next 30 years—well, who knows where this will take us, but with your continued support we can secure the future of Weldmar Hospicecare for generations to come. On behalf of every single person that we have cared for since 19th January 1994, for your support in the past and in the future, an enormous thank you.