A major appeal to transform Rowans Hospice has raised an amazing £400,000 in just three months – including a £275,000 donation from two trusts.
The hospice in Waterlooville launched a £7.5m Silver Jubilee Appeal in October to fund a three-year, three-phase project to improve the building and the care it provides.
Now chief executive Ruth White believes that ambitious total can be reached thanks to the generosity of the community.
She said: ‘It is absolutely amazing that we have reached this point after only three months and it is so exciting to see everything move forward and that our dream is achievable.
‘The community has been really good so far and two trusts who wish to remain anonymous have given us £275,000, which is incredible. I am so glad they have such confidence in what we are doing that they have decided to give such a large amount of money.’
But Ruth added that every pound someone can give will make a difference.
She continued: ‘Those large donations are amazing, but the £5, £10 and £20 people are donating really add up. It is like crowdfunding, where it doesn’t matter the amount you are giving because everyone is helping for the dream to become a reality.
‘The gentleman associated with one of the trusts asked me how many people live in Portsmouth and the surrounding area and I told him it was about 600,000. He said that if everyone gave £10 we would be at our goal as we have £1.5m from our reserve account for the project as well.’
Silver Jubilee Appeal change boxes have raised more than £2,000 so far, while legacies have added £66,000.
Ruth said: ‘To have people leaving money to us in their will is really humbling and in general brings in more than a third of our funding.
‘Interestingly a lot of people who leave us money are not even patients, just members of the community with some connection who want to give to a local charity. This money will really make a difference to our patients we care for.’
The hospice team is in the process of contracting builders to start the first phase of the transformation project in April, which will see the lightening and brightening of all patient bedrooms and en-suite facilities at the Rowans.
Interactive controls will be installed, along with quiet patio areas for families and friends, plus new seating areas and private spaces.
The dedicated patient entrance will be refurbished to improve first experiences at the hospice and the new route will include colour, light, images of nature on the walls and clouds on the ceiling.
The aim is to complete phase one by 2020.
Ruth explained: ‘We just really want to get going with it all now, so we need to make sure we have the funds in place to start the first phase. We want to keep rolling out the phases and keep the builders on because otherwise costs could keep rising and we want to get it finished and in budget.’
She added: ‘Once we get the builders in, some of our patients’ rooms won’t be in use but we are making up for that by increasing our work in the community so patient care won’t suffer.’
The Rowans has teamed up with The News as official media partner to publicise the Silver Jubilee Appeal and the work of the hospice.
Ruth added: ‘I want to thank The News and its readers as the publicity is raising awareness among people about what we are doing and why. We want to have a modern facility that caters to people’s needs.
‘It is important to us that it has more technology within the building so patients in bed can draw their own curtains or adjust their heating without having to call staff and they can retain a little bit of their independence.’
To find out more about the Rowans Silver Jubilee Appeal and how to get involved, visit silverjubilee.rowanshospice.co.uk.
To read all the latest stories about the appeal, go to the portsmouth.co.uk home page and click on ‘Rowans Hospice’, plus don't miss the Rowans appeal page in The News every Friday.