HALTON Haven Hospice is fighting for survival as it faces a £250,000 shortfall in funding by the end of the year.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a huge blow to the hospice's fundraising efforts, and the charity is now appealing to the community for support.

This comes after the charity's Fire and Ice fundraising walks, due to take place tomorrow, Friday, were cancelled.

A collection tin was also recently stolen from Runcorn Train Station - the monies were replaced by a kind-hearted member of staff, but it has been upsetting for both the station staff and the hospice.

Fundraising lead, Ann Hedley, said: "Unfortunately we don’t have reserves in the bank as some other charities and hospices have.

"We never ask for more than we need and we are very aware that some of our supporters are struggling too.

"£127,000 was the amount which we calculated we would lose over a 12-week period from the beginning of lockdown.

"It’s now week 29 and we estimate that by December 31, we will have lost a further £250,000, and that is if our shops are allowed to remain open throughout that period."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the community has raised £131,000 for the hospice, and it has also benefitted from some government funding, which has now ended, and the kindness of trusts and foundations.

The Ho-Ho-Hope! Appeal has since been launched, with each donation to the campaign helping to create a Christmas scene, complete with Santa and his sleigh.

As the hospice receives donations, the sleigh will fill up and the scene will have other characters added to it.

CEO Viv Culleton added: "We’re inviting companies to sponsor the houses, the church, the bridge, the mountains and some other characters who will be joining the scene.

"In exchange, their logo will be displayed in the scene and used across the festive season.

"It’s a chance for people to have some fun and to get involved.

"Whether they donate £2 or £2,000 every donation will be greatly appreciated."

To show your support, visit justgiving.com/campaign/HHHope.

You can also text HHHOPE to 70450 to donate £10.

Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS.

If you would like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text HHHOPENOINFO to 70450.

Email ann.hedley@haltonhaven.co.uk to make a bank transfer payment, if your company would like to get involved, or for more information.