The number of local people being supported by Heart of Kent Hospice has reached a record level for the third month in succession.

In September, October and November this year, the number of patients under its care month on month exceeded 800 for the first time in its 28 year history. Last year the Hospice cared for nearly 1,600 people, with 2019-20 set to beat it.

According to Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive at Heart of Kent Hospice: “It’s sad that so many local people and their loved ones are living with a terminal illness, but it’s also fulfilling that many more of them are now aware of us and are seeking our help.

“We have worked hard to raise our profile and increase our support among local people. We have trained more patient care volunteers to enable us to care for even greater numbers of people in the place of their choosing. We have extended the range of our outstanding courses for healthcare professionals to ensure that every person living with a terminal illness has the support they need, even if they aren’t directly under our care.  And in November, we launched a new website, with a greater patient-focus, offering reassurance and more information about the care we provide to them and their families.”

Built in 1991, Heart of Kent Hospice in Aylesford is an independent charity caring for people in Maidstone, Aylesford, West Malling and the surrounding villages. All its services are free to patients and their families and loved ones.

Sarah continued: “The growing number of people using our services does put pressure on us to raise ever more funds to be able to offer not just clinical support but also emotional, spiritual and social care too.  With funding from the NHS covering only a fifth of our costs, we need to raise over £4 million each year and it is thanks to the incredible generosity of our local community that we are able to do just that.”

The Hospice continues to find new ways of engaging the public and in 2020 the charity will launch its most ambitious project yet.

Sarah concluded: “We’re really excited to bring Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade to Maidstone, to the community we serve and, who in turn, generously support us.  Thanks to a collaboration with creative event producers Wild in Art and independent children’s books publisher Andersen Press, we will bring together all areas of the community to put Maidstone on the map, showcase the wealth of talent in the area and contribute to the economic, cultural and social life of the town, whilst at the same time raising valuable funds and the profile of the Hospice.”

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