Leyton Orient kick off new partnership with St Joseph’s

An East End hospice has kicked off a new season of fundraising by announcing a partnership with Leyton Orient FC.

The huge boost from the League One team is part of a drive to step up fundraising efforts and make more people aware of the amount of cash the hospice must bring in each year.

Over the weekend the team’s players met children of patients, volunteers and staff from the Mare Street hospice before a game with Oldham at the Matchroom Stadium.

And earlier this month the hospice celebrated the success of its first joint event with Newham children’s hospice Richard House - a vintage midnight walk through the East End - which raised an impressive �20,000.

With NHS budgets under unprecedented strain, the hospice must look to the private sector more now than ever.

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Grant Usmar, head of fundraising at St Joseph’s, said projects like the vintage walk are ways to appeal to the area’s diverse groups.

He explained: “We are trying to think of things which will appeal to the east London community. It’s about making it quirky, fun and engaging.”

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Despite St Joseph’s having a relatively secure stream of funding from the NHS compared to other hospices, it still has to make up a shortfall of �7 million a year.

But as medical advancements continue to increase life expectancies, in recent years hospices have “risen up the political agenda”, Michael Kerin, chief executive of St Joseph’s has said.

He added: “Fundraising has been at St Joseph’s from day one. It’s interesting because hospices are the only bit of healthcare that has never been fully funded by the NHS.”

Families of people treated at St Joseph’s are often a core part of the fundraising efforts but staff are working hard to promote the hospice’s good work in all areas of the community.

The fundraising team hooks up with businesses, schools and other organisations where it can.

All services provided by St Joseph’s, both in the Mare Street site and at patient’s homes, are free.

Earlier this month Leyton Orient players Stephen Dawson and David Mooney met patients at a visit to the club.

Mr Mooney said: “There was such a sense of spirit in the group. If we had their great sense of camaraderie we’d really be flying!”

To find out more about fundraising at St Joseph’s go to stjh.org

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