As the nation reflects on the last budget before the General Election, Laura Wild discusses balancing the books with the Director of Finance at St Catherine’s Hospice and finds out what a difference regular givers make.
St Catherine’s Hospice is a much-loved local charity, but it is also an important local business working in central Lancashire that has to ‘make ends meet’ each year.
Its priority is supporting people facing life-shortening illnesses like cancer, motor neurone disease and heart failure when it really matters most – but with only limited funding from the NHS, this is only possible thanks to the hard work and generosity of supporters who help to raise the £5m needed each year.
Working with the Board and chief executive it is the job of Sue Clemson, as Director of Finance and Technical Services at the Lostock Hall hospice, to balance the charity’s books.
Sue said: “Like any business, we need a financial plan so we can work out what we expect to receive against what we need to spend to be able to deliver our services. There are many costs that people might not first associate with a hospice – laundry, maintenance, housekeeping services, information technology, regulation - not just the doctors, nurses and social workers that immediately come to mind.
“After looking at our outgoings, we need to see where our income is coming from. We currently receive just 26 per cent of the £5m from the NHS, the rest we generate in a wide variety of ways. St Catherine’s charity shops and weekly lottery, donations, events that we organise and which people set up on our behalf, grants and funding which we can bid for and gifts in wills, all make up lines in our budget. However, even this has proved insufficient, so a café called The Mill has now been opened to help maintain care for hospice patients.
“With our Director of Income Generation Lorraine Charlesworth we have to deliver this large sum of money each year against competition from other charities, unpredictable weather that can sometimes disrupt events, the need to attract interest from new generations, rising costs, and so on. Our patients rely on us achieving reliable month by month, year by year income, and this is the biggest financial challenge that we face.”
It is the often uncertain and unpredictable nature of the charitable sector which makes regular giving – whereby supporters pledge a set donation each month to the hospice – such a vital revenue stream for St Catherine’s. As part of the 30th anniversary Give A Gift campaign with the Lancashire Evening Post – a list of 30 things the St Catherine’s would like to achieve in 2015 - the hospice is asking for 300 new regular givers making a monthly donation to the hospice.
Sue added: “The wonderful thing about a regular gift is the security it brings. We know what money is coming in on a regular basis and it is money which to a large degree of certainty we can rely on. This makes it easier to budget for our patients’ needs, and in turn plan to meet future needs. Regular givers make our services more sustainable and dependable which is particularly important for patients and families at the end of life.
“We would love to welcome more regular givers to St Catherine’s as part of our special 30th anniversary Give A Gift campaign. Giving in this way is an easy way for people to show their support, and we’ll keep in touch letting them know how the money they donate is making a difference – to local people now, and in the future.”
We would love to welcome more regular givers to St Catherine’s as part of our special 30th anniversary Give A Gift campaign.Sue Clemson
To sign up to become a regular giver visit www.stcatherines.co.uk/regular-giving and download a form or call the hospice on 01772 629171. For more information about the Give A Gift campaign and how you, your business, school or organisation can get involved during the hospice’s 30th year visit www.stcatherines.co.uk, email email@example.com or call 01772 695290.