Philanthropists, Julia and Hans Rausing, have today announced grants of £8.7 million to 27 hospices across the UK to help them meet the significant increase in their day-to-day costs, brought about by inflation and high energy prices.

Hospices in particular need of support were identified by the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust, working with the charity Hospice UK. The Trust analysed data to identify hospices with less than 12 months of funds in reserve, with support focused on regions with the highest proportion of hospices in need, which included East Midlands, East of England, the North East and Scotland, as well as the Trust’s geographical areas of focus, East Cheshire, Gloucestershire and London.

Research published at the beginning of this year by Hospice UK shows that 96% of hospices had budgeted for a deficit in 2022/23, meaning that many were at risk of depleting their reserves and collectively were facing a deficit of £186m in 2023/24. Just over a quarter (27%) had less than six months reserves available. At the same time, the cost of running hospices has increased dramatically, with an expected 500% increase in energy bills on top of an increase in wages.

In response to these needs, the Trust determined to give funding over the next three years to provide the identified hospices with a level of financial stability for the future.

Julia and Hans Rausing commented: “The rising cost of living has left hospices in a perilous financial position. We know many are receiving fewer or smaller donations than in previous years, so we hope that these grants can be a lifeline, enabling these wonderful hospices to continue providing care and support in their communities across the UK.”

Toby Porter, Chief Executive of Hospice UK commented: “Julia and Hans Rausing have once again shown themselves to be the most remarkable supporters of essential children’s and adult hospice care services across the UK.

Their philanthropy will make a huge difference at a critical time to local communities served by the individual hospices who their Trust will be supporting. This could not be more timely or more welcome. Their philanthropy comes as a time when hospices across the UK are facing immense challenges, as costs soar and the current economic climate creates a tough fundraising environment. Adult hospices rely on charitable donations for on average of two thirds of their income, for children’s hospices, this rises to four fifths. At a time when local communities are finding it increasingly hard to give as generously as they have before, we are immensely grateful to Julia and Hans Rausing for helping hospices, providing funding which will help them continue to support dying people and their families.

At Hospice UK we are also proud and grateful to have been awarded a grant by Julia and Hans Rausing to support hospices with their workforce challenges over the next few years. Hospice care obviously relies both on there being enough funding and on the incredible people who work and volunteer at their local hospice. We are proud to be a grantee of this incredible family foundation."

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said: “Sue Ryder’s ambition is to provide more care for more people, but due to rising costs and a projected increase in the need for palliative care, we fear we will not be able to be there for everyone who needs us in the future.

“Currently, we only receive around one third of the funds needed to provide our expert end-of-life care from government. This means that Sue Ryder and other palliative care providers such as us, are heavily reliant on the generosity of supporters such as Julia and Hans Rausing. 

“I am therefore delighted to acknowledge the outstanding generosity by Julia and Hans Rausing and the three-year investment of over £1 million to ensure we can reach more people when they really need it and make sure no one is left to grieve or die alone.

 “We send our special thanks to Mr and Mrs Rausing for helping to highlight the economic challenges facing the hospice sector at this time and championing the sector with these landmark awards.”

In researching the challenges faced by the hospice sector, it also became apparent that there are issues relating to workforce development and retention. The Trust worked collaboratively with Hospice UK to identify a strand of activity to support staff wellbeing and retention: the ‘Hospice UK Workforce Resilience Programme’, providing match funding for this work. In addition, a grant was made to Priscilla Bacon Hospice towards their newly-opened centre, which has dedicated space to support research, education and training in palliative medicine and is adjacent to the University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Hospices that have received funding from Julia and Hans Rausing include:

Sue Ryder: Sue Ryder provides palliative and bereavement support through its hospices, in the community and online. In the last year, Sue Ryder cared for 8,100 people, providing 525,000 hours of palliative and end-of-life care. The £1.05 million grant to Sue Ryder is toward three of their hospices, two in the East of England (St John’s Hospice, Thorpe Hall Hospice) and one in Gloucestershire (Leckhampton Court Hospice).

Hospice UK: Hospice UK supports more than 200 charities nationally, who in total care for over 300,000 dying people and their families annually. The £194,000 grant will match fund their ‘Hospice UK Workforce Resilience Programme’, aiming to improve retention of existing workforce and grow the pipeline of future workers into the sector.