ST LUKE'S Hospice has received a £10,000 donation from INEOS to help the hospice respond to new ways of operating in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The INEOS’ INOVYN site based in Northwich has made the large donation to St Luke’s through the international INEOS Community Fund. The grant will support the vital work of the hospice as it finds new working methods to provide care and support to adults with life-limiting conditions and their families.

St Luke’s provides vital support to 1,000 people with life-limiting conditions across Mid and South Cheshire each year. The hospice provides a 12-bed inpatient unit which supports vital palliative care, while the Day Hospice provides therapies, treatments, care and emotional support.

St Luke’s also provides essential support to patients’ families and is committed to the ongoing training and professional development of its network of 750 volunteers who play an active role in the community at large.

The grant will be used by St Luke’s to fund the vital community work of the Family Support and Counselling Service, as it responds to increased public demand and new ways of operating its service in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.

Ordinarily, the staff and volunteer led FSC team runs the lifeline counselling service to provide emotional and practical support to patients and families affected by progressive illness. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 the FSC team has made urgent changes to its working practices and adopted a range of new approaches to ensure this service is still accessible to the local community.

The FSC team now works from home and offers crucial phone and video counselling to provide ongoing support for families in challenging circumstances made all the more difficult as a direct result of the pandemic.

The team is experiencing record demand and is acting as an important listening ear to people feeling stressed, isolated and in need of support. In recent months, the service has helped patients feel connected and supported and been crucial in providing reassurance to patients waiting for treatments and therapy.

Andy Bailey, corporate partnerships manager at St Luke’s, said: “Our entire staff are all very grateful for the incredible generosity shown by INEOS at this time and we will make sure every pound is invested wisely in our services so that we can continue to support our patients, their families and the wider communities of mid and south Cheshire at this time. Our Family Counselling team is witnessing the greatest demand on its services since St Luke’s opened over 31 years ago and this grant allows us to continue this work and move forward through the year with confidence.”

The £1 million INEOS Community Fund was established by INEOS Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe in March 2020 in tandem with the company’s COVID-19 “Hands On” campaign, which set up new production lines to provide millions of bottles of free hand sanitiser per month to hospitals and frontline healthcare. The fund enables INEOS sites across the world to support the charitable organisations doing vital work in their local communities at this particularly difficult time.

Janet Ward, UK communications manager at INEOS company INOVYN, said: “St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice provides an incredible service for people most in need across Mid and South Cheshire. A team of inspiring staff and volunteers is now working harder than ever before to provide critical support amid the stress, anxiety and uncertainty prompted by the Coronavirus crisis. We are delighted that we can help this wonderful organisation and its inspiring teams in supporting the needs of local people.”