Prospect Hospice has launched an urgent appeal to help fill a £2m funding black hole.

The shortfall comes as the Wroughton charity steps up its efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the hospice’s staff have been redeployed to help care for patients at home.

The charity, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, says it costs almost £17,200 a day to run its services during the pandemic, with costs up as nurses visit patients individually.

Last month, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a £200m fund for hospices. But the cash will have to be divided between around 300 organisations, with Prospect expecting to get around £500,000.

Chief executive Irene Watkins said: “In the current climate we calculate that over the coming six months the shortfall from lost income will mean that we will still need to raise a further £2 million to deliver the hospice service.This, I know, is a big number but we simply must raise it.”

The decision was taken in March to shut all its charity shops. Fundraising events have also been cancelled. Taken together it means the loss of a source of income worth £5.5m a year to the organisation. Community engagement director Warren Finney said in April: “For us, in effect overnight, we closed all of our shops, we paused most of our fundraising events, and in effect turned the tap off on £5.5m worth of income in one shot and we don’t know when we can turn that back on again.”

Prospect is working with the clinical commissioning group and Swindon’s Great Western Hospital in order to provide end of life care to patients in their own homes.

A round-the-clock phone line was launched, allowing GPs, other health professionals and family members to call the hospice’s palliative care experts for advice.

The main hospice building in Wroughton remains open, but many staff have redeployed to the community. Prospect says it is costing an average of £17,197 to provide its services.

Ms Watkins said: “The hospice is still supporting this community, but to respond to the current needs for Covid-19 we have had to dramatically change and increase the size and scope of our services.

“This means we are supporting people in their homes on a scale of operation we have never attempted before, we’ve redeployed staff to ensure that our skills are used in the best possible way and we’ve invested heavily in PPE to protect our key workers, our patients and their families.”

To donate to Prospect Hospice, visit or call 01793 813355.