I would like to thank the Eastbourne Herald for their coverage of the work of St Wilfrid’s Hospice and clarify points raised by recent correspondents.
The 3.5 acre site for the new hospice just off Broadwater Way, owned by the trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement Trust, is land locked and negotiations with neighbouring land owners over the construction of a new access road have been complicated and sensitive.
We could not respond publically while those negotiations were underway.
The charity is paying less than £1 million for a site that is four times bigger than its current site. The current site will be sold on completion of the project.
The new hospice will enable us to care for twice as many patients; very sadly we are unable to meet growing demand for hospice care and over the last year one person a fortnight died whilst waiting for a hospice bed.
For nearly a decade we have been promising the community a new hospice and have been carefully managing our finances so we can fulfil this moral obligation.
We have set aside just over £8 million which we expect will cover the cost of building the new hospice. Our existing reserves will not cover the cost of furnishing and equipping the new hospice. The NHS contributes 15 per cent towards the cost of running St Wilfrid’s Hospice and we can only provide free hospice care because of the generosity and support from local people.
We will need to raise just under three quarters of a million pounds each year from the general public, clubs, societies, churches and the business community to furnish and equip the new hospice and continue to provide hospice care for more than 800 people each year.
The chief executive is responsible to the Board of Trustees and all significant decisions are made between the Board of Trustees and the chief executive.
I do hope your readers will understand why we have not responded earlier and will be reassured by the facts I have set out.
I have witnessed the superbly sensitive and professional care our staff give. I can assure your readers of the profound sense of obligation we all feel to honour the contract we have with the community and ensure that free hospice care is available to all those who need it.
I can only implore your readers to continue to support the work of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
St Wilfrid’s Hospice