A MARLBOROUGH end of life charity is making a desperate appeal for donations - so it can keep going.

It says demand for services is increasing while, at the same time, funding has dried up.

The charity continues to deliver essential specialist end of life care to local people, but is now struggling to find the funds to do this.

It has launched an appeal to raise £2million to ensure its services continue.

“The hospice is still supporting this community, but to respond to the current needs for Covid-19 we have had to dramatically change and increase the size and scope of our services," said Irene Watkins, chief executive of Prospect Hospice.

“This means we are supporting people in their homes on a scale of operation we have never attempted before, we’ve re-deployed staff to ensure that our skills are used in the best possible way and we’ve invested heavily in PPE to protect our key workers, our patients and their families.”

As a local independent charity, Prospect Hospice depends on nearly three quarters of its income to come from local people but since the end of March, many fundraising events have needed to be cancelled and all hospice shops have closed meaning the traditional ways people used to support the hospice are no longer available.

“As you’d expect, we have cut costs wherever we can, and the Government recently committed £200 million to support hospices across the country," added Irene.

"From this Prospect Hospice has received an allocation of £341,000, which we welcome, however, in the current climate, we calculate that over the coming six months the shortfall from lost income will mean that we will still need to raise a further £2 million to deliver the hospice service. This I know is a big number but we simply must raise it.

"As a local independent charity, we depend on nearly three quarters of our income to come from wonderful supporters. Simply put, without their support the hospice would not exist.”

Care from the hospice is delivered free of charge to patients in the Swindon and north east Wiltshire area but the hospice incurs large costs in order to do this and, during the Covid-19 period, it is costing the hospice £17,197 a day to run all of its services.

Broken down, it costs around £26 per day to fuel a nurses car so they can visit patients in their own homes.

Around £177 will pay for all of the specialist medical supplies and equipment that we need to care for a patient, and the average cost of a single person cared for at this time is around £601.