160 APPEAL: Building links and raising money

Amy Francombe, top, with Nichola Fisher from Reed consultancy pictured with some Easter eggs donated in aid of Prospect Hospice

Amy Francombe, top, with Nichola Fisher from Reed consultancy pictured with some Easter eggs donated in aid of Prospect Hospice

First published in News
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FUNDRAISING day after day for a charity which must secure £4.3m each year is no small task.

From helping local groups set up their own fundraisers, fetes and fun days, staging bike rides and races, to actually flyering dressed as Santa Claus or other appropriately seasonal costumes, Prospect Hospice’s team resourcefulness and commitment is unparalleled.

“The target means something,” said community fund-raiser Amy Francombe.

“It’s a number that goes towards the overall running cost and has not been plucked out of thin air.

“It can be a bit worrying at the end of the financial year if we have not quite reached it.”

The Wroughton hospice needs £5.8m per year to run but only receives 30 per cent of its budget from the NHS.

Although the stakes are extremely high and the target always looming, money and cold hard figures never take centre stage for Amy, who remains firmly focused on building relations with the community and spreading the word about the importance of the care delivered by Prospect.

“There is some pressure,” said the 25-year-old who joined Prospect in January 2012.

“The income and money that we raise depends on the team and on the work that we put in. Because we are a smaller organisation, as opposed to a national charity, we see firsthand what we are working to support and it drives me to want to do my job as well as I possibly can.

“The money is of course the reason that we are here but I think it’s in the background a lot of the time.

“It’s about the relationship that we are building in the community. As long as you work with people who want to work with you, the rest looks after itself.”

Amy’s varied role as community fundraiser has taught her to expect the unexpected, always be prepared and leave self consciousness at the door when she steps in the office.

“I’ve been dressed as Santa walking up and down the town centre giving out flyers and I’ve dressed as a caveman in the snow for a cheque presentation at Avebury Rocks,” said Amy, one of 10 members of the fundraising team – excluding the 100 volunteers lending a helping hand.

“I had a cold for a week but it was worth it. We have got to have a lot of humility in this role.”

She added: “Out of the fundraising team my role is the most varied.

“I deal with events organised by third parties in the area. We are quite lucky to have organisations and businesses in the community who support us or choose us as their charity of the year.

“They either approach us with an event they want to organise or the seed of an idea and I help them with finding raffle prices, a venue, help promote the event and give them advice. My main advice is always to try and get everything for free.”

One of her priorities over the last two years has been expanding the hospice’s bank of local fundraising groups and links with established charities such as the rotary clubs.

“Volunteers are crucial to what we do,” she said. “We had two fundraising groups when I started and since then we’ve set up five. A lot of them have been successful and we are really grateful for their help.

“The big aim is to continue to set up these support groups and have one in every one of our catchment areas.

“What I also want to be able to do is build a relationship with philanthropic groups like the Rotary group, and also schools.

“Because of what we do we don’t reach a young audience as much. We have ambassadors who have been trained to meet groups in the community and talk to them about the work of the hospice.

“We just have to keep going out and forging relationships with the community.”

To make a donation to the 160 Appeal, receive help organising an event for Prospect or to invite an ambassador to give a talk to your group, call the fundraising team on 01793 816161.

Share your stories and help Prospect

AS PART of our special fundraising year for Prospect Hospice, we want to hear from you about how the charity has helped you, your friends or family.

We will be printing a special Prospect Hospice supplement on May 16, which we want to fill with stories from our readers about the amazing work that the hospice does.

Prospect might currently be helping you on a daily basis, or maybe they are helping your wife, cousin, brother or sister at the moment.

Perhaps they cared for your dad, husband, mum, uncle or best friend before they passed away a few weeks, months or years ago.

However Prospect Hospice has helped you, we want to hear about it, and we also want to help give Prospect’s staff the praise they truly deserve.

Earlier this year, the Adver launched one of its most ambitious campaigns to date in a bid to raise £160,000 by December in aid of Prospect Hospice – a charity which has touched the lives of thousands of terminally-ill patients in their final moments.

Throughout the year, along with activists, fundraisers and the support of the community, the Adver is striving to collect the mammoth sum, desperately needed by the Wroughton charity which must secure £5.8 million each year to continue caring for the people of Swindon and North Wiltshire.

We hope that by printing this supplement on May 16, more people will be encouraged to donate money to this cause.

If you would like to share your story, contact Adver writer Emma Dunn on 01793 501797 or email edunn@swindonadvertiser.co.uk with a brief description of how Prospect Hospice has helped you.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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