A CHARITY which gives vital at-home support, care and respite to families dealing with life-limiting illness is appealing for financial help after two years of decreasing NHS funding.

Herriot Hospice Homecare, based in Northallerton but covering Richmondshire and Hambleton areas, is preparing to launch a fundraising campaign, starting with a leaflet drop to selected homes in its coverage area.

Charity chief executive Liz Pollard – who is due to retire at the end of September – is urging householders who do receive the appeal letters not to simply throw away but to consider helping it to continue its work giving care to people in the comfort of their own home.

She added that the leaflets would not go to all homes in the districts due to financial limitations – but stressed this did not mean that donations from people not receiving the letter would not be appreciated.

She said: “In the last two years 70 per cent of NHS funding has been lost as the level of reimbursement was reduced and the PCT changed cost and eligibility criteria reducing the number of patients who can receive our care.

“We have already been doing a lot ourselves to boost funds with our charity shops, furniture store, and we have started to operate a fee-paying domiciliary care agency, Herriot at Home.

“We want to be able to provide greater care for people at the end of their life as well as their families.”

As well as providing complementary therapies at home, charity Bereavement Care works alongside Herriot Hospice Homecare, and discussions are underway with Marie Curie to co-ordinate the provision of overnight care.

Mrs Pollard added: “Herriot Hospice Homecare is taking a variety of measures to reduce overheads and generate new sources of income.

“We have invested in the postal marketing campaign, which will reach more than 6,000 households in Hambleton and Richmondshire, to make people aware of our need for greater financial support, without which we may have to reduce the number or level of services which we provide."

Mrs Pollard admits that often the percentage of people who read a marketing campaign is very low, but that it is only way for it to reach new support.

She said: “We think of this campaign as an investment. We just need people to open the envelope, sit down with a cup of tea and read all about us - they can help us and we can help them.”

Another way to support the charity is to get involved with its ‘T&3’ event during National Hospice Care Week from October 6 to 12, where anyone can hold a tea party to raise funds for the charity.

Herriot fundraising team is holding a 'T@3' in the Golden Fleece, Thirsk, on Monday, October 6. For details visit http://www.herriothh.org.uk/herriot-hospice-afternoon-tea-3/.