It is with a heavy heart that we have made the tough decision to cancel the Arohanui Hospice fundraising event Hearts and Homes for 2021. The iconic fundraising event was scheduled to run on the 12th and 13th November.
This will be the first time this biennial event has been cancelled since its inception in 1997, when it was first organised by Robyn Higgins, known then as Bells and Bows.
This is a key event in the fundraising calendar for us, historically raising close to $100k each time. These funds will be largely missed as fundraising proves to become more challenging through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our decision to cancel the event was not made lightly and many factors have been considered including the uncertainty of alert levels into the future as well as being a socially responsible organisation in a world health crisis.
Arohanui Hospice Chief Executive, Clare Randall says delivering the news of the decision to cancel Hearts and Homes 2021 is not an easy one.
“COVID-19 and in particular the Delta variant of the virus is changing the way in which we can fundraise at this time. As a socially responsible organisation, we need to consider the health and safety of our community.
“Holding events which attract large groups of people, in this current pandemic environment would be irresponsible,” explains Clare.
Our Hospice relies hugely on fundraising activities to raise much-needed funds for the organisation, with just over half of funding being provided by the District Health Board, the remaining $3.2million per annum required to operate our service must be fundraised, to ensure specialist palliative care can continue to be provided, at no charge for patients and their families/whānau, within the community.
Along with the loss of income from Hearts and Homes we are also experiencing significant fundraising impacts through other channels such as the five Hospice shops being closed throughout COVID-19 Alert Levels three and four.
“Fundraising events and our five Hospice shops are key components in our fundraising strategy,” says Clare.
“Without these things we see a significant drop in funds raised which is challenging. We will need to be creative to come up with new ways to raise our funding shortfall.”
Volunteer coordinaters Robyn Higgins and Robyn Naylor says the investment in time spent planning the 2021 Hearts and Homes event had already been significant, with the event planned to be held in the Rangitīkei district this year.
“Nine homeowners had agreed to be involved, and this commitment is no small ask.
“The nine magnificent homes organised for this year, are simply stunning and we were excited to be holding the event in a different part of the region, the Rangitīkei, this year,” said Robyn Higgins.
“Our heartfelt thanks goes out to our homeowners and sponsors that had agreed to be on board with this year’s event.
“Many of the sponsors have generously offered their sponsorship commitment to the Hospice as a donation, which is amazing. We are always so grateful to the community and to the individuals that support this event and other events for Hospice,” Robyn Naylor added.
With a guaranteed shortfall in fundraising of $100,000 we are calling for the community to come forward with any suggestions or ideas that could help achieve the loss from this year’s Hearts and Homes event.