Monday, February 26th, 2024

Otford’s Hospices of Hope tea room closes for renovation – but charity fundraising activities continue

The Hospices of Hope’s Tea Room at the rear of 11 High Street, Otford will be closed at least until November for a re-build.

However, the charity shop on the High Street (pictured), will be operating again as soon as possible when the government gives the go ahead for small shops to re-open.

The tea room is currently housed behind the charity shop in a pre-fabricated building which has come to the end of its life due to deterioration of the walls and flooring.

The new tea room will be larger and the old kitchen will also be replaced. The project is being financed through grants and a loan from the Charity Bank, but further donations or sponsorship for a piece of equipment will be gratefully received. Notices about the opening date will be posted in the shop.

Meanwhile, other activities organised by the Otford based charity continue. Hospices of Hope is inviting people of all ages to fill their hours of isolation by having fun and raising funds for seriously ill children in Romania who receive hospice care in the Bagpuss Children’s Wing.

There are three Bagpuss Stay at Home activities to choose from. By taking part you will be helping the charity raise £215,000 towards the annual running costs of the Wing.

The Bagpuss Baking Competition – where fundraisers (who enjoy inventive cooking!) can create delicious Bagpuss themed treats!

The Bagpuss Challenge – where fundraisers can walk, skip, run and jump their way for three miles – and they can nominate three friends to take part too!

The Bagpuss Drawing Competition – where budding artists draw a Bagpuss themed image. The top three winning entries will be displayed at the Bagpuss Children’s Hospice Wing!

The Bagpuss Children’s Hospice Wing provides in-patient and out-patient services, social care, physiotherapy, a paediatric day centre – and home care service for children who are unable to travel to the hospital. These services are entirely free and Hospices of Hope is the only UK charity providing hospice care for seriously ill children in Romania.

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Hospices of Hope’s executive director and founder Graham Perolls, CMG, OBE, also took part in another fundraising challenge – ‘ROW-mania’ – to raise funds towards the salaries of nurses for the hard-hit Hospice Casa Sperantei, in Romania.

The distance from London to Romania is 1,500 miles and the charity is asking at least 150 people to join in and help Graham cover this distance.

The “ROW-mania” challenge was to row for 10 hours (an hour a day) and raise at least £100.

Graham, who is now back at the helm after recovering from the Covid-19 virus, used a child’s inflatable dinghy and two pieces of wood found in the garden!

Explaining the reason for the challenge, Graham, aged 69. said:”I understand that at present people’s main focus is on the crisis facing the charity sector over here but the situation in Romania and other countries where we work is grave.

Recently, Romania discharged nearly all cancer patients from hospitals to make way for Coronavirus patients. This included a 13-year-old boy with a brain tumour who was in terrible pain. Our hospice doctor visited him and quickly brought the pain under control, so much so that he asked his mother why he still needed to take morphine when it did not hurt any more. He spent Easter happily playing on his X box with his brother. But many other patients across the country are feeling completely abandoned.

Our hospices are concentrating on home care visits and in-patient care. An additional member in the nursing team would make a significant difference to the number of seriously ill patients we can care for.”

Hospices of Hope’s projects in South East Europe are facing a huge loss of income and the charity is worried that services for people with terminal illness will have to close. In the UK, its charity shops have had to close and fundraising events have been decimated. Unlike many charities operating over here, Hospices of Hope is not entitled to the support for charities announced by the government.

SNIFFING OUT COVID 19: Otford Parish Councillor Howard Leicester, who is partially sighted and has a guide dog, is encouraging people to get behind a national campaign to raise funds for medical detection dogs who can be trained to sniff out Covid 19.

A dog’s incredible sense of smell is thanks to the complex structure of its nose, which contains over 300 million scent receptors, compared to five million in a human. They are already commonly used to detect odours associated with drugs, explosives, and food. More research has shown they can detect the odour of disease with high levels of accuracy.

The Medical Detection Dogs project has attracted backing from the UK government and public donations,/ The organisation is now collaborating with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Durham University to begin work on the Covid 19 situation.

Further funding is essential to help accelerate the time frame by facilitating quicker sample collection and providing greater resources for training the dogs.

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