THE chief executive of Ardgowan Hospice says it faces a £100k cash crisis due to coronavirus and that public support for the facility is ‘more important than ever’.

Hospice boss Linda McEnhill has revealed Ardgowan facs a six-figure funding hole as they are forced to cancel or postpone fundraising activities and close the five hospice shops due to the pandemic.

Despite this, she remains positive that the hospice will receive the financial support it desperately needs from the ever-generous people of Inverclyde.

Linda said: “We are extremely reliant on donations to achieve our goals however our duty of care to people affected by life-limiting conditions, our volunteers, and our staff, comes first.

“With this in mind we have made the extremely difficult decision to cancel/postpone some of our core fundraising activities for the next 12 weeks, these will unfortunately include our 'It’s a Knock Out' event and our famed Ladies Day among others.

“We have also had to take the difficult decision to close our five hospice shops.

“In the coming weeks these activities alone were expected to bring in over £100,000 of much needed income for the hospice.

“We are likely to experience a difficult fundraising environment as events and community fundraising - historically our primary source of income - together still make up about 25 per cent of our income and are likely to suffer.”

The hospice chief executive says she is fully aware that lots of people in the community are facing hardship as a result of the virus so does not expect everyone to be able to offer financial support.

She said: “We are very aware that many in our community are facing an uncertain period of financial hardship, with businesses temporally closing or reducing their core staff to help fight the spread, and impact, of COVID-19.

“Ardgowan Hospice has traditionally received overwhelming generosity from our community, receiving an average of £12 per head in our community; however it is both unfair and unrealistic to expect this level of support to continue over the coming weeks and months.”

To help plug the funding gap, the hospice fundraising team are going to focus their attention on working with companies who are more resilient in the current climate and on securing statutory funding.

Mrs McEnhill said: “To help reduce some of the anticipated impact upon the hospice, we can redistribute our efforts and invest in areas of fundraising which are less likely to be affected.

“Such areas include statutory fundraising and building partnerships with companies who are more resilient to the current situation.

“We will ensure we prioritise our time to generate the best return for the hospice, as we have for many years.

“We will also use this time to build our internal capacity and skillset which will help us to survive in the long run.

“We employ a talented and resilient, small, fundraising team capable of diversifying our fundraising efforts.”

The coronavirus crisis is a fresh financial headache for the hospice in a year where they have embarked on a recovery plan.

She added: “This has been an incredibly difficult year.

"As many of our supporters will know, we have had to implement a stringent financial recovery plan as a result of having diminished reserves and increased costs.

“This plan resulted in the reduction of staff and whilst we were on target to return to a break-even budget by the end of the next financial year the impact of the pandemic has the potential to seriously impact on our ability to do this.

“We must fundraise over £2m every year to continue providing our essential services.

“Each year over 1,000 of the most vulnerable people of Inverclyde and their families and loved ones access our services and we can’t do that without your support.”

Linda says the support of the public will now become more important than ever.

But she added: “However we’re all too aware of the hardship many of our supporters are facing over the coming months, which is why we want to encourage giving what you can, when you can, but only if you’re in the position to do so.

“You can support by fundraising on our behalf, setting up a direct debit or making a one off donation, however small by clicking the donate button below or by calling 01475 726830."