No Need to Panic: supporting your local hospice
With many charities losing their largest fundraising opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Janine Kennedy explores ways we can support them from home.

Having lost my mother-in-law almost 20 years ago, one organisation we always like to support is our local hospice. We usually donate to the hospice each year, in memory of my mother-in-law and to help continue the wonderful and essential work being done within hospices throughout the country.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and large events cancelled through to the end of the year, charitable organisations throughout Ireland are trying to come up with creative ways of fundraising.

I recently spoke with Eileen Kennedy, who is on the board of the North Tipperary Hospice, and she went over some of the ways they were hoping to reach their fundraising goals.

Last week, the Tipperary senior football team got involved with a video campaign. Team members shaved and dyed their hair and the videos were shared on the hospice's social media streams. They were able to raise an impressive €15,000 from the campaign, and this amount was shared equally between the North Tipperary Hospice, C-SAW in Clonmel (suicide awareness) and Clonmel Regional Hospital.

Eileen wants to assure the public that, even though the centres are physically closed with the ongoing pandemic, the hospice remains operational.

"We're providing full-time counsel services via telephone," she says. "Many have been recently diagnosed but are now in treatment limbo - they are facing an uncertain future and need someone to talk to."

The hospice website (www.northtipphospice.ie) has an area where you can donate online. The annual hospice campaign (Sunflower Day) was meant to be 6 June, but instead, a new website and campaign has been launched: Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement have launched an ad campaign which will be ongoing for several weeks.

Mary Kennedy and Marty Morrisey are involved with the campaign and feature in the ads.

Any funds raised within localities, as a result of the national campaign, will stay within that locality.

"We (North Tipperary) have €500,000 to raise each year to cover our nurses," says Eileen. "Our home care service started 30 years ago so how we operate is a bit different."

While hopefully North Tipperary is able to raise these much-needed funds to keep their organisation going, there are many other hospice societies throughout Ireland doing amazing work who will also need your support. Discover your local hospice online to donate, or reach out to them if you have a fundraising idea for these times of social distancing.