Ride London Tandem Charity Ride for Hospiscare.

Anyone who knows me in real life, or who has read my Twitter and blogs for a while (thank you!) will know I am very passionate about working for organisations whose purpose is to support and or care for people when they are vulnerable and need support. You may know that after quite a while in the NHS, then the Probation Service, a dalliance with independent consultancy (still doing a small amount), I now work for Hospiscare, a Devon based hospice charity. You may also know that I have taken part in various fund-raising events over the years for different charities, running (kind of) or cycling on our tandem. 

This year, I am not a participant in any event, but I’m a definite groupie, a sort of ‘born again’ charity bucket shaker, and very possibly an irritant. It’s a fine line between attracting support and donations via powerful stories, and getting on everybody’s nerves with frequent sponsorship requests!

So, this blog is an attempt to tell you why I’m walking that fine line again. My husband, Ray and daughter, Belinda (Belle), are cycling ride London on 30 July to raise money for Hospiscare, on our tandem. Their target is £800. My role is organiser in chief, groupie and Social Media persistent person (persister)!

It was actually my idea to get the tandem, and Belle loves it so much, she finds solo cycling quite lonely. (I can’t get a look in as I’m currently only fit enough for short rides of under 20 miles and they need to train, despite only finishing another event a week ago.) And then on Friday, when cycling home from work into a headwind, Ray had a very minor accident – he is OK, by the way, just bruised. So, cycling together as a team, communicating all along the way and sharing the load, definitely seems the way forward. Which reminds me of hospice care – team work, communication all along the way and sharing the load. I’m going to say more below, but meanwhile, look, they even trained when we were in Portugal on holiday recently.

If you don’t know much about hospice and palliative care, a good place to find out more is via Hospiscare Website or Hospice UK, our umbrella charity. The care we provide is not just what takes place inside the hospice buildings, in fact Hospiscare is 35 years old this year and the hospice building itself is only 25, as we started as a community service. We support people with terminal diagnoses, their families and carers in many ways and we have an extensive team of volunteers and professional staff carrying out a range of roles to support people in their homes and preferred settings for as long as possible. The clinicians can describe this much better than me and I heard one recently describing what we do as ‘scooping up’ the patient and their family, so that they didn’t have to worry about a range of practical stuff. Instead they could spend the last days of valuable time with their loved one just being together and having the sort of conversations they wanted to have instead of worrying about who would provide care etc.

Having read this far, I might have persuaded you that hospice care (or more correctly, hospice quality care in a range of settings) is a very worthwhile thing, and certainly a service you would want for anyone you love who is given a terminal diagnosis. So why might you then decide to donate to our fundraising effort? Here are a few reasons:
·       Hospices are only partially publicly funded. The percentage of NHS funding they receive varies according to local commissioners, but in most cases, it is under 20% of what they need to run each year.
·       The hospice charity I work for, Hospiscare, spends 86p in every £1 of income on patient care. I think that’s pretty impressive, when you think of the unavoidable infrastructure you need to run an organisation smoothly, to maintain its buildings and to support its staff and volunteers.
·       OK, Hospiscare is a Devon based charity. I don’t live in its catchment area myself. But, as a network of local hospices, we are very good at sharing expertise, learning and ideas, both clinically and organisationally. There is a very high level of collaboration between us regionally and nationally. So, if you live somewhere else, and would like to sponsor Ray and Belle, in an indirect way, you are also supporting hospices generally.

I think that’s 3 pretty good reasons myself. Still not convinced? Well, Hospice UK are currently campaigning to open up hospice care to people who don’t currently get access to such services. So, you could donate to them instead, via website above. I hope though, you feel after reading this, that you would like to donate towards Ray and Belle’s £800 RideLondon target. And if you’re in and around London and Surrey on 30 July, you could get out to support all the riders. Thank you so much - and here's the link to the donation page. Belle and Ray's Tandem ride for Hospiscare


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