We've learned how to run Saint Francis Hospice via Zoom and Teams

Paul Gwinn

Paul Gwinn was been a trustee at Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-atte-Bower for seven years - Credit: Saint Francis Hospice

I have been a trustee at Saint Francis Hospice for seven years and I have always been impressed by how professional, caring, and adaptable everyone at the hospice is.

Always looking to improve the wonderful care offered to patients and their families and continually seeking out new ways of raising the £12million needed each year to run the hospice to the extremely high standards it sets itself.

Never have these skills of adaptability been more necessary and evident. After years of rolling by in a similar pattern now it is essential to think "outside the box" to continue to give the care and compassionate nursing.

I have been impressed by how open to change the whole team has been, both frontline staff and those behind the scenes, volunteers and my trustee colleagues. We have all been encouraged to take on board the working from home ethic.

I, like many, had never heard of Zoom or Teams! With the help of the ICT department we have all successfully adapted to this new way of meeting and running the hospice.


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Embracing the changes has been challenging but essential if we are to continue achieving the excellence we have come to expect.

Practices may have changed but our focus has not changed. Our top priority remains to give excellent end of life care both at the hospice and in the home.

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Of course, I have unfortunately witnessed the huge cost to Saint Francis that Covid-19 has caused.

I can clearly see the devastating effect the lockdown has had on our finances, particularly fundraising and our shops. I am full of admiration for these teams who continually come up with fresh ideas to raise the much needed money necessary to provide the expert end of life care for which we are renowned.

They have had to adapt virtually 100 per cent to online fundraising. It is not the same as face to face and getting out in the community.

My first contact with the hospice was 10 years ago, arranging the original Santathon.  

Sadly, there were no Santas this year. However, there are still many ways you can help us to continue our work for your community. Please go online and find out how you can make a donation, play our Lottery or find out more about how you can get involved during 2021 to help local people who need our care. Please visit sfh.org.uk for more information.

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