St John’s Hospice: Charity’s alternative ‘5k in a day’ walk helps plug coronavirus funding gap

PUBLISHED: 11:29 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 24 April 2020

Participants in the St John's Hospice 5k in a day. Picture: St John's Hospice

Participants in the St John's Hospice 5k in a day. Picture: St John's Hospice


Supporters of St John’s Hospice adapted their fundraising efforts amid lockdown to raise upwards of £5,000 by taking part in a “5k in a day” challenge.

Families supporting the St John's Hospice '5k in a day' challenge. Picture: St John's HospiceFamilies supporting the St John's Hospice '5k in a day' challenge. Picture: St John's Hospice

Coronavirus has decimated the events charities like the St John’s Wood hospice rely on, but when its annual memory walk was cancelled, the charity’s fundraising team came up with an alternative.

On Sunday April 19, staff, patients, and friends of the hospice took on the challenge of taking 5,000 steps within their own homes.

Participants signed up on Eventbrite and then had to use social media to show the St John’s team how they had achieved their step target – whether it was by doing chores, an online fitness class, or simply walking around the garden.

Philanthropy manager Alie Floe told this newspaper: “It’s a serious time for all charities and we are at the front line, resources are quite stretched.

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“The idea was to come up with an alternative option to raise much-needed funds for the hospice. But it’s not just about raising money, it was about giving people the opportunity to remember their loved ones.”

The annual Memory Walk usually sees bereaved family members join hospice staff to remember those who have passed away. The hospice, which provides palliative care to more than 4,000 terminally ill patients each year, has closed its day centre but continues to offer support to inpatients and its community team is working to offer support and guidance to patients remotely

The hospice sits within the St John and St Elizabeth charitable hospital, which has opened up its facilities to help the NHS cope with coronavirus.

Its in-patient unit remains operational, with the now-commonplace restrictions on visitors to protect public health.

Caroline Fox, the hospice’s chief exec said: “During a time when many of us are restricted to staying indoors the event aimed to help everyone stay healthy both mentally and physically, whilst also enabling them to have a positive impact in supporting our frontline medical, ambulance and hospice therapy teams deliver care for our patients at a time when they need it most.”

The hospice provides free palliative care to 4,000 patients and their families every year and is dependent on many now-cancelled fundraising activities to raise the £2.5m per year to fund its vital services.

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