A decision for parents

It would break the law for anyone to advise parents to keep their children out of school.

All the authorities can do is to claim that they will make your school as safe as possible for your child.

Once again school staff have been given an impossible job.

They can't even prevent outbreaks of nits, measles, chickenpox etc, which all have incubation periods and are contagious just like Covid 19.

Therefore parents have to decide for themselves what is safe and when it is safe for their children to return to school. They have the power of "Yes" or "No". Much more important than deciding to go for a holiday during term time.

John Davies (NAS/UWT ret'd)

Byron Avenue

Royal Wootton Bassett

Urgent hospice appeal

We are living in unusual times, and I do hope that you and your loved ones are coping with the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in.

The hospice you know and love is still supporting your 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, at a time when income is all but drying up now that all community activities and events have been cancelled/postponed and all our shops closed.

One of the most devastating situations for families we are aware of is where someone at the end of their life cannot be with their closest family, because of the restrictions around Covid-19. We just cannot allow this to happen, so if a patient is not able to come into Prospect Hospice’s much-loved inpatient unit, for any reason, we will take that specialist care out to them instead.

In order to raise the funds we are currently losing and to ensure the hospice survives this pandemic, we really need your help in enabling our patients to spend their last precious days and moments surrounded by their loved ones, something I’m sure you’ll agree must happen wherever possible.

As a local independent charity, we depend on nearly three quarters of our income to come from wonderful supporters. Simply put, without your support the hospice would not exist.

We have cut costs wherever we can, and you will have seen that the Government recently committed £200 million to support hospices across the country. From this Prospect Hospice has received an allocation of £341,000, which we welcome, however, 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. A big number I am sure you will agree.

We are so grateful to each and every one of our supporters for being part of Prospect Hospice and if you have recently made a donation to us, I apologise for contacting you again so soon. I would never normally do so, but I’m afraid the fact is that the lockdown is having a devastating effect on the amount of funds that come into the hospice every week. We now find ourselves in the position where we need your help more than we ever have to ensure that we survive this.

Every day during this period, it is costing £17,197 to run all of the hospice care services.

£177 is the daily cost for all of the specialist medical supplies and equipment that we need to care for a patient, £379 is the average cost for a staff member to deliver a 12 hour shift of patient care, £601 is the average cost of care per person supported during this period.

Every donation, however large or small, will allow us to continue caring for patients and their families at one of the most difficult times in their lives and ensure that the hospice also survives this awful pandemic. If you are able to give, I thank you on behalf of every one of them.

To donate visit prospect-hospice.net/donate. Alternatively please send a cheque (payable to Prospect Hospice Ltd) to Prospect Hospice, Moormead Road, Wroughton, Swindon SN4 9BY

Irene Watkins

Chief executive

Prospect Hospice