London hospice launches appeal to reach the most vulnerable this winter

Whilst located in St John’s Wood, much of the work of St John's Hospice takes place beyond the hospice walls, out in the community, spanning seven North London boroughs. This includes providing community nursing, Hospice@Home, bereavement counselling, social welfare support, inpatient care, day services and carer respite.

This month St John’s has launched an urgent appeal to rapidly expand their community services enabling them to reach the most vulnerable in their community this winter.

Financial hardship is something that affects many people with a life-limiting illness and their families. Whilst the issue predates the current cost of living crisis, St John’s is preparing to deal with more hardship this winter than the last as a result of the soaring fuel and energy prices as well as high inflation adding to everyone’s basic shopping. Those with young families are already prioritising feeding their children over their own medication or food.

Last winter, the hospice reported cases where their community team including community nurses, Hospice@Home healthcare assistants and social workers had entered the homes of patients to find that they had no food in their cupboards, that there was no hot water or heating, or that they were sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

The hospice also reported that some patients were no longer coming in for their therapies or were missing counselling sessions because they simply could not prioritise travel over heating their homes or putting food on the table.

It is through this community work that the hospice can more easily assess the living situation of their patients and their family members and the additional support they may require. These visits can also provide companionship and ensure that patients and their families do not feel alone in their situation or isolated from their community, feelings which can be heightened as the days grow darker and colder.

By expanding their community outreach St John’s will not only be able to better support their current patients and their families but will also be able to reach many more people in their community who need their support. They will be able to provide more community nursing hours and Hospice@Home assistance, enabling patients to receive high-quality medical care in their own homes as well as providing support and respite for family carers.

They will be able to increase visits from social workers who can provide emotional and practical support as well as issue emergency hardship grants to help with food, hot water, heating and electricity bills as the winter sets in. It will also enable the hospice to bring therapies and counselling sessions to patients at home, for the first time, so patients no longer need to worry about the costs associated with travelling to these appointments nor coming out in the colder and wetter winter months.

Speaking of the need to rapidly scale their community outreach, Zipporah Keller who is a Social Worker at St John’s, said: “We know that this winter, more than any other winter gone by, there will be people out in the community who need us, people who we desperately want to reach, connect with and support.”

Keller continues: “Dealing with a life-limiting illness, supporting a loved one who is ill or facing bereavement can be an incredibly difficult time; physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. And this was before the added worries of soaring energy prices.

“We know that many of our patients and many more out in the community will be worrying about whether they have enough money to put food on the table, to turn their heating on, to afford the fare to get to their appointments. These are worries they simply should not have, and I am genuinely concerned about how rapidly things could deteriorate for so many in our community over the coming months if we cannot reach them.

“St John’s needs the support of the public to ensure we can be there for everyone who needs us, particularly throughout the tough winter months ahead.”

A donation of £30 could fund a visit from a St John’s Social Worker who can provide emotional and practical support for a person with a life-limiting illness and their family at the most difficult time.

To support their appeal this winter please donate via their website. Alternatively, get in touch with the St John’s Fundraising Team by emailing or calling 020 7806 4011. For press and media enquiries please email

- - -

Notes to the Editor:

About St John’s Hospice

St John’s Hospice provides quality, holistic care to people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families. We are about celebrating and amplifying life, enabling people to live well for as long as possible. We create moments of joy and compassion both inside and outside of our hospice and work to ensure that each of our patients and their families are supported through every aspect of their journey.

As well as our Inpatient and Day Care Unit located in St John’s Wood, we work out in the community, in people’s homes, providing care to more than 4,500 people every year across seven North London boroughs.

Our services are free to all and include community care, Hospice@Home, bereavement and social work support, inpatient care, day services, therapies and carer respite.

Facebook: @stjohnshospice

Twitter: @StJohnsHospice

Instagram: @stjohns_hospice

Registered charity number: 235822

Click to return to the top of the page