Philanthropists Julia and Hans Rausing are supporting 27 UK hospices after analyzing data to identify those with less than 12 months of funds in reserve and in regions with highest proportion at financial risk.
The $11 million is to help them meet the significant increase in their day-to-day costs, brought about by inflation and high energy prices.
“The rising cost of living has left hospices in a perilous financial position. We know many are receiving fewer or smaller donations than in previous years, so we hope that these grants can be a lifeline, enabling these wonderful hospices to continue providing care and support in their communities across the UK.”
Working with Hospice UK to analyze the data, the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust‘s support is focused on regions with the highest proportion of hospices in need, which included East Midlands, East of England, the North East and Scotland, as well as the Trust’s geographical areas of focus: East Cheshire, Gloucestershire and London.
Research published at the beginning of this year by Hospice UK shows that 96% of hospices had budgeted for a deficit in 2022/23, meaning that many were at risk of depleting their reserves and collectively were facing a deficit of over $233 million in 2023/24. Just over a quarter (27%) had less than six months reserves available. At the same time, the cost of running hospices has increased dramatically, with an expected 500% increase in energy bills on top of an increase in wages.
In response, the Trust will give funding over the next three years.
Toby Porter, Chief Executive of Hospice UK commented: “Julia and Hans Rausing have once again shown themselves to be the most remarkable supporters of essential children’s and adult hospice care services across the UK.
“Their philanthropy will make a huge difference at a critical time to local communities served by the individual hospices who their Trust will be supporting. This could not be more timely or more welcome. Their philanthropy comes as a time when hospices across the UK are facing immense challenges, as costs soar and the current economic climate creates a tough fundraising environment.”
One of the beneficiaries, Sue Ryder receives a $1.3 million grant toward three of its hospices, two in the East of England (St John’s Hospice, Thorpe Hall Hospice) and one in Gloucestershire (Leckhampton Court Hospice).
Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said: “Currently, we only receive around one third of the funds needed to provide our expert end-of-life care from government. This means that Sue Ryder and other palliative care providers such as us, are heavily reliant on the generosity of supporters such as Julia and Hans Rausing.
“I am therefore delighted to acknowledge the outstanding generosity by Julia and Hans Rausing and the three-year investment of over $1.3 million to ensure we can reach more people when they really need it and make sure no one is left to grieve or die alone.
“We send our special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rausing for helping to highlight the economic challenges facing the hospice sector at this time and championing the sector with these landmark awards.”
In researching the challenges faced by the hospice sector, issues relating to workforce development and retention also came to light. The Trust worked collaboratively with Hospice UK to identify a strand of activity to support staff wellbeing and retention: the ‘Hospice UK Workforce Resilience Program’, providing match funding for this work.
In addition, a grant was made to Priscilla Bacon Hospice towards their newly-opened center, which has dedicated space to support research, education and training in palliative medicine and is adjacent to the University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
Hans Kristian Rausing is a Swedish billionaire and the son of packaging industrialist Hans Rausing. His grandfather, Ruben Rausing founded the food-packaging giant Tetra Pak. The family has an estimated $12 billion fortune.
He married Julia Delves Broughton, daughter of Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton.