Severn Hospice forced to cancel fundraising events for second year

Severn Hospice is dealing with another financial blow after deciding to cancel its programme of flagship events for a second year.  

Severn Hospice’s annual Colour Run takes place at Telford Town ParkSevern Hospice’s annual Colour Run takes place at Telford Town Park
Severn Hospice’s annual Colour Run takes place at Telford Town Park

The charity, which cares for families in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales living with incurable illness, says it will not risk the health of supporters – or commit to the financial risk of organising its mass participation events – while so much uncertainty remains around mitigating the pandemic. 

It means the Pontesbury Potter in March, Telford Town Park’s Colour Run in June and Shrewsbury’s Dragon Boat Festival in July, all key events in the community calendar and important fundraisers for the charity will not go ahead. 

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Between them, they attract thousands of participants, spectators and supporters and help contribute around £300,000 to the specialist care the charity provides.  

Norma Ross, Severn Hospice’s Director of Income Generation, said: “As difficult a decision as it’s been to make, we know it’s the right one. On every level, this is such a disappointment as events are not only fantastic fundraisers for us they are a vital connection with our community. 

“We knew we were ending the financial year with a fundraising deficit of more than £500,000 and now we face starting the next one already behind ourselves,” she said. 

“Our supporters are amazing and have not forgotten us despite all they themselves are facing, and we’ve had help from government and other funding sources, as well as looking at our own costs, but I can’t pretend we don’t face an ongoing challenge,” said Norma. 

The latest lockdown has meant the hospice has also lost vital income from its high street shops which have all been forced to close for a second time. Annually, the shops contribute around £1 million to the hospice’s care funds. 

The charity had been covering its fundraising gap by using pre-donated funds – reserves – but that was not a long-term solution, she added. 

“We can’t stop caring, the pandemic has not stopped people needing us, so we are continually looking at what else we can do to minimise its impact on us and to help our supporters,” said Norma. 

It’s latest fundraising initiative – ‘Challenge Yourself’ – has already seen people commit to real and virtual Land’s End to John o’ Groats journeys, skydives, mountain ascents, marathons and multi-mile and multi-day runs and walks. 

“We are so fortunate to have such commitment from our supporters, it really does make a difference now more than ever, and we are doing all we can to help them help us,” said Norma. 

Shropshire Live