A Lanarkshire MSP visited an East Kilbride-based hospice to discuss the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
Graham Simpson visited palliative care facility Kilbryde Hospice to learn about the crucial work they are doing for patients requiring end of life care, the support they offer families and the challenges posed by the pandemic.
He met with CEO Gordon McHugh, at their site in East Kilbride, to have a look around the facilities and hear about their plans for the future.
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The Kilbryde Hospice Appeal, which was first set-up in 2001 by Tony McGuiness and Dr John Richards, have been providing day services, care at home and counseling from their new building since 2016 when it opened.
Mr Simpson, who previously visited the site in 2018, discussed their work connecting local services together in South Lanarkshire and the importance of the 98 members of staff and 200 volunteers who have been tirelessly fundraising for the hospice through their three local furniture shops and by hosting a variety of fundraising activities.
The pair covered the challenges which have surrounded the hospice during the last two years due to the pandemic and the impact the restrictions have had on the running of the centre.
An appeal spearheaded by the East Kilbride News saw the community rally round to keep its doors open COVID all but stopped fundraising – leaving them with a massive shortfall.
There was also an opportunity to talk about the financial issues that the hospice has had to overcome due to canceled fundraising events and the spiraling costs they face due to rising energy prices.
Mr Simpson said: “Everyone in the town values the hospice and the work that it does for families. It has faced challenges, as have many charities, during the pandemic but is still going strong and that is down to the hard work of its staff and its army of volunteers.
“It was good to catch up with Gordon and to hear his thoughts for the future. I think there is an opportunity for charities in the town to work together and we are starting to see that. The hospice can be at the center of that.
“I would like to see hospices valued more by government. It shouldn’t be the case that they only survive because of massive fund-raising efforts – good though that is.
“They offer an absolutely vital service that we can’t do without.”
CEO Mr McHugh added: “Kilbryde Hospice is a place full of joy and I was absolutely delighted to welcome Graham to meet with me and have a look around the hospice.
“Kilbryde seeks to improve the lives of people living with terminal and life-shortening conditions across South Lanarkshire and we help people to live as well as they can, to the end of their lives.
“We can only do that because of the generosity and kindness of so many supporters and volunteers.
“Kilbryde families to create precious memories and allows moments of joy that families can remember forever.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.