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Kindness Offers Hope Amid Outbreak

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Stories of people poaching all the loo roll and videos of people fighting over tins of soup have painted a bleak picture of the human race amid the coronavirus pandemic

Yet there have also been acts of kindness that have inspired millions of people around the globe, and everyone here Saint Francis Hospice in the quaint English village of Havering atte Bower.

Since lockdowns and self-isolation gripped the world, pollution levels have dropped, Venice’s murky canals have become crystal clear, and wild deer have roamed the empty streets surrounding the Hospice’s grounds. Even Abbey Road’s famous zebra crossing was treated to a repaint as it took a break from tourists following in the Fab Four’s footsteps.

The Clap for Our Carers campaign has been a regular fixture on Thursday nights. Applause from people’s windows, balconies and doorstops erupted across the UK for our NHS heroes, and the Hospice’s staff who are working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Here are five more reasons why everyone at Saint Francis Hospice Hospice. The Hospice hope these tales of compassion will make you feel a little better about the situation we all find ourselves in: 

The Hospice’s men and women in China and Hong Kong

Amazingly, business colleagues of the Hospice’s Patrons Circle founders, Anne and Jim Bender, have sent over 1,500 face masks from China and Hong Kong. 

Currently like gold dust, and far from cheap to send from Asia to Essex; it was their gift to the Hospice. Saint Francis Hospice would like to thank, Mr and Mrs Kwan, Idy Leung, Simon Lau and Ramen Cho, who are currently trying to source even more. 

Generous companies in our community have also sent food, hand sanitiser, mouth swabs, and disposable blankets. 

‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth.’ – Oscar Wilde

FFP3 face and respiratory masks are usually for manual workers. They aren’t commonly seen on healthcare professionals unless they are among infectious diseases. The outbreak of the coronavirus has changed that.

Damian Wright is Head of Health and Safety on the Crossrail project. He recently came to the Hospice’s Education Centre to deliver a face fit testing session to staff on the ward. 

As everyone’s face is different, it’s legalisation to ensure the masks give the appropriate seal. This is often challenging for men with facial hair, but the ladies passed first time. Thank you, Damien.

Stepping out of comfort zones

In 1985, Saint Francis Hospice opened with 10 beds before reaching 22 in 2013. In the beginning, everybody had to do everything, from fundraising to cleaning, office work, nursing, and comforting bereaved families. 

People helping across Saint Francis Hospice has always been very much part of the Hospice’s ethos. The Hospice is stepping right back to the mid-80s with people adapting for various roles, but they’re giving the shoulder pads and spandex leggings a miss.

Embracing tech

The Hospice’s volunteers give up 265,000 hours each year, saving a whopping £1.5m over 12 months. The Hospice has been keeping in touch with its self-isolating volunteers who have promised that they will be back. 

The ‘elder’ helpers of the generation who aren’t constantly glues to their phones have been embracing videotelephony. Everyone at the Hospice looks forward to seeing them again soon.

Coming together

With the Hospice’s charity retail stores closed and all fundraising events postponed, they must now find other ways to find the £8.5m that will keep the Hospice open for the next twelve months. The Hospice has seen a flurry of activity across online donations, Sponsor a Nurse, Gift in Wills and our lottery – where you could be in with the chance of winning £25,000 in our weekly draw.

Thank you for everything you do for Saint Francis Hospice; stay safe. You can find out more about how you can help here.

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