St Michael’s Hospice - one year on

Last July tragedy struck at the heart of our community when fire ripped through St Michael’s Hospice now, just one year later, thanks to the dedication and support of Hospice staff, volunteers, local residents and businesses, this special place of sanctuary is getting ready to rise like a Phoenix and open its doors again.

Immediately following the fire in the early hours of July 11, 2015 offers of help both financially and with donations of items for patients flooded in. A hospice spokesman said: “The days that followed the fire made us raise how important we are to our local community and how far the goodwill for the Hospice spreads across the country.”

Repairing the fire damage was estimated to be in the region of £1m (covered by insurance) and hospice Trustees made the decision to also carry out much longed for improvements to St Michael’s of around £3m to make it ‘truly fit for the future’.

The Hospice had built up a level of reserves which allowed them to contribute £2m to the project and, to raise the remaining £1m, they launched the Phoenix Appeal - the biggest appeal for funding they have ever made and which the Observer Series is proud to sponsor.

The improvement works include the relocation of all in-patient rooms onto the ground and first floors, creating dedicated and private areas for patients and their families, the installation of a large fire-safe lift, new therapy rooms and an improved coffee shop.

The Hospices’ Phoenix Appeal encouraged residents and business throughout Hastings and Rother to get involved in the huge challenge to raise the £1m needed.

The generous community spirit was soon in evidence as businesses, community groups and individuals rallied round, thinking up dozens of spectacular and innovative fundraising ideas. Latest figures revealed a whopping £806,000 had been raised for the Phoenix Appeal in just a few months and the Hospice is hoping that it will still reach its target by the Autumn.

The latest fundraiser was courtesy of the Treble Clefs Ladies Community Choir. They held a Summer Spectacular Event at St Augustine’s Church, Bexhill, on Saturday July 2 which raised over £700 for the Hospice.

Kate Wellesley, Community Fundraiser St Michael’s Hospice thanked the ladies of the choir, Musical Director, Keith Richardson, and Keith Rhodes who “managed the event so brilliantly”, adding: “We are so grateful for their time, generosity, wonderful voices and support of the Phoenix Appeal.”

On Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21 - few weeks before the In-Patient Unit re-opens in early September - St Michael’s will open its doors to the public offering guided tours of the newly refurbished building.

Bruni Llovet, Head of Marketing St Michael’s Hospice says this unique opportunity allows the general public to see the improvements first hand. ”The Open Days are our way of saying thank you to all of our supporters and to showcase some of the new patient rooms, clinical areas, the chapel and our stunning gardens,” she said.

“This is a rare opportunity with limited spaces available, so booking is essential.”

To book a place visit Eventbrite online and search for St Michael’s Hospice (Hastings and Rother) or email: marketing@stmichaelshospice.com

To donate to the Phoenix Appeal or for a fundraising pack call 01424 456369 or email: phoenixappeal@stmichaelshospice.com