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‘We cannot wait any longer’ - Sue Ryder ‘on brink of closure’ as it makes urgent appeal

PUBLISHED: 00:10 07 April 2020

A dementia cafe in Lowestoft run by the Sue Ryder foundation. Picture: Nick Butcher

A dementia cafe in Lowestoft run by the Sue Ryder foundation. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Sue Ryder charity that has 20 shops in Norfolk and Waveney is on the brink of closure and “will lose its hospices” without emergency funding, it has said.

A new Sue Ryder Junior shop being opened in Fakenham by Thetford Town Crier Mike Wabe. Picture: Matthew UsherA new Sue Ryder Junior shop being opened in Fakenham by Thetford Town Crier Mike Wabe. Picture: Matthew Usher

Without funds, the palliative care charity said it will be forced to close its hospices and stop caring for people in their own homes within months.

It anticipates a £12 million funding gap over the next three months, with fundraisers cancelled and its shops closed during the coronavirus lockdown measures.

Volunteer Katie Smedmor at the Sue Ryder furniture shop in Downham Market. Picture: Ian BurtVolunteer Katie Smedmor at the Sue Ryder furniture shop in Downham Market. Picture: Ian Burt

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Among its East of England specialist centres is The Chantry based in Ipswich, caring for people with a range of neurological conditions such as Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis; and Thorpe Hall Hospice the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough.

It also operates community-based services such as Dementia Together, a service in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance.

Sue Ryder centre The Chantry based in Ipswich cares for people with a range of neurological conditions. Picture: Debbie HumphrySue Ryder centre The Chantry based in Ipswich cares for people with a range of neurological conditions. Picture: Debbie Humphry

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, statutory funding covered a third of the charity’s end-of-life care costs. The rest came from fundraising and income from its 450 charity shops.

Its shops are familiar on many high streets including Wroxham, Stalham, North Walsham, Cromer and Sheringham, Holt, East Dereham, Swaffham, Fakenham and Hunstanton; as well as Lowestoft, Beccles and Bungay.

Sue Ryder charity shop in Sheringham. Picture: Antony KellySue Ryder charity shop in Sheringham. Picture: Antony Kelly

It has four stores in Norwich including a specialist vintage and retro shop in Bridewell Alley, while it has both charity shops and furniture shops in King’s Lynn and Downham Market.

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The charity had originally asked the government for support and now, out of “desperation”, is turning to the public for help with an emergency appeal.

Hope Allmark, shop assistant at Sue Ryder's vintage and retro store in Bridewell Alley, Norwich. Picture: Sue RyderHope Allmark, shop assistant at Sue Ryder's vintage and retro store in Bridewell Alley, Norwich. Picture: Sue Ryder

Heidi Travis, Sue Ryder chief executive, said: “We have been calling on the government to support us but no funding has materialised.

“The country will lose its hospices at a time when they are needed most. This is a plea and no less, we cannot wait any longer.

The shopfront of Sue Ryder's store in Bridewell Alley, Norwich. Picture: Sue RyderThe shopfront of Sue Ryder's store in Bridewell Alley, Norwich. Picture: Sue Ryder

“Our doctors and nurses are working night and day to provide end-of-life care to more people now and in the coming weeks, than ever before.

“We are a critical frontline support service in the fight against coronavirus yet we are on the brink of closure.

“We are all facing something we have never faced before and we are asking the public to give whatever you can afford to help us to help those who need it most.”

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