In our previous All Togethers and briefings, I have said that I would keep everyone updated on our progress through Covid-19. The pandemic has had a huge emotional and physical impact on all our staff and volunteers, whether you have worked through the crisis, are on furlough or have been shielding to protect yourselves and loved ones from this invidious virus. Throughout this crisis our two hospices have been working at capacity and have made a significant difference to many patients and families in our County. 

In this special briefing, I am going to update you on how we are going to address the challenges that we continue to face as we begin to return to life in the new normal. 

Throughout the crisis the executive team and the Trustees have been meeting more frequently than usual, the exec team meet daily, and there have been several additional Board and Committee meetings to analyse, plan and monitor our response as the situation has developed. 

It has been clear right from the start of the outbreak that we would incur a very significant loss of charitable income, this has been running at around £125,000 per week during lockdown. We have received helpful financial support through three major Government initiatives, these comprise; Cornwall Council grants, furlough contributions and the emergency funding arranged on our behalf by Hospice UK. These supportive measures have been vital in keeping us going so far. They have been a welcome short-term solution, but are now beginning to draw to a close. July was the last possible payment, if any, via Hospice UK and Furlough closes in October at a much-reduced level of support. 

There are positives, as our shops gradually re-open in a phased and safe way, and we develop more virtual fundraising events, we are beginning to see some income begin to return. Unfortunately, however, this is nowhere near the previous levels and it is likely to take some considerable time before we can return to pre-Covid levels, if at all. 

This slow recovery reflects the national economic picture of recession and will, sadly, have an unavoidable impact upon us. At such a challenging time, difficult decisions must be made to help protect the essential care provided by the hospices. It is inevitable that it will be necessary to consider measures to reduce our costs base. All areas of current expenditure have therefore been closely reviewed and a costs reduction plan has been developed that focuses on ensuring the survival of our two hospices and our core patient services as we emerge into the new normal. 

The plan includes a range of efficiency measures, including for example, savings in day to day costs and the greater use of technology to support activities.  I am also sorry to inform you that the plan also includes some small reductions in roles within the Charity. Sadly, the funding situation is such that we are unable to protect all jobs. We are endeavouring to keep any such job losses to an absolute minimum and our focus will continue to be on ensuring we can continue to support patient care long into the future. 

Individuals who are affected by these changes will be advised by their line managers as soon as possible and consulted and supported. It is not appropriate to share any specific further details today. It is important that everyone understands that these decisions are only taken after very careful scrutiny of the enormous challenges that we face. 

I will keep everyone updated as we work our way through the recovery plan. Thank you for all that you are doing to support our Charity – together we must continue to be One Team. 

Paul