Weston Hospicecare has had its grant confirmed after an anxious wait
Weston Hospicecare is to receive a £547,000 government grant promised by the Labour administration, it has been confirmed.
The money was awarded March but the organisation has had to wait to be certain of receiving it, following the new government's review of all spending.
Gill Blackshaw from the charity admits the grant, which will be spent on the Weston-super-Mare charity's buildings and gardens, is vital.
"We are very dependent on our local community to fund the hospice," she said.
"We do get some money from the local PCTs but, regrettably, that's only about 20% of the money that we need.
"So obviously doing any large improvements to our buildings and to our gardens, is really difficult if you want to keep the money from the local community on the services that we provide.
ABOUT WESTON HOSPICECARE
Weston Hospicecare provides free specialist palliative care to local people
It covers Weston-super-Mare, Cheddar, Burnham on Sea and the surrounding areas
Weston Hospicecare will help more than 1,000 patients and their families in 2010 alone
Patients at the hospice include adults of all ages, with a range of life-limiting conditions including cancer, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's Disease
It will cost around £3m to run the hospice in 2010
Weston Hospicecare relies on the support of the local community to generate around £2m every year towards its running costs
"So, really great news that the Department of Health has given us this £547,000 which is really going to help make some big changes to accessibility.
"[Plus] having some privacy and dignity when they're here, and the gardens, for them to use privately."
Weston Hospicecare had the support of the town's Conservative MP, John Penrose, who wrote to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to plead the hospice's case.
"I was told it was [under threat and] we were all very concerned it was," said Mr Penrose.
"I did my bit by writing to the Health Department, to the Secretary of State for Health, and... I'm delighted that they saw sense, that they went on and kept the grants going.
"It's tremendously important to Weston Hospicecare and it's a really, really popular and well-supported local charity.
"Everybody knows somebody who's needed its help, or a family who's needed its help, in the past - it's much valued."
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