Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice turned the City pink on Wednesday 10 July in a massive day of fundraising activity involving Birmingham businesses, corporate partners, supporters, schools and community groups, shoppers and members of the public.
The pink-themed giving day took place on the anniversary of the Hospice’s royal opening in 1979, the day when Princess Alexandra officially cut the ribbon to open the new facility on Raddlebarn Road, Selly Park. This opened up hospice care to Birmingham, the first hospice in the Midlands, supporting people at the Hospice and mostly in people’s own homes.
Forty years on and the Hospice challenged the City to Go Pink! in whatever whacky and wonderful ways they chose. Some of the City’s well-known landmarks changed their colour schemes, with the Library of Birmingham lighting itself up pink, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce changing the colour of their social media banners and the Wesleyan fountain adopting the charity’s signature colour – all to show their support for hospice care.
Loveable mascot, Hettie the Hospice Hedgehog, went on a tour around the City, meeting supporters and getting involved in their fundraising activities. Staff from some of the City’s big name companies took up the challenge in their own ways, with male staff from Jury’s Inn literally making their bare legs go pink courtesy of an in-house leg wax.
Chief Executive, Tina Swani, said: “We’ve been bowled over by the range of supporters who backed our Go Pink! campaign. It’s been an amazing show of support for the Hospice on the anniversary of our royal opening. More than ever before we need local people to get behind us to protect and sustain services for the future.
“It cost us £9 million to care for 1,700 individuals last year as well as to support their loved ones and families. This has depended upon the incredible generosity of our local supporters. Sadly, we know that at least twice that number of people are in need of our care as demand for hospice care is rising.
“The NHS funding we receive has not kept pace at all with costs and is now only 36% of our income. We have responded by working collaboratively with our partners across health and social care to innovate and transform services to reach more people, but more government funding should be available to ensure hospice care is an integral part of every person’s health and care provision.
“It is truly heart-breaking knowing that so many people are unable to access life changing hospice care in today’s society. We aim to raise £9 million again this year to continue to increase the number of people we care for and more of those we are not yet reaching. Raising money to meet this target would be a fantastic result especially in our 40th anniversary year.
“I’d like to thank all our supporters for their amazing generosity during our campaign and for making such a vital difference in sustaining hospice care for our communities.”
To find out more about the Hospice, visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk.