Wakefield Hospice says thank you after 500 people donate scarves to help wrap building in a giant hug
Wakefield Hospice has thanked the public for donating a "staggering" 500 handmade scarves to their latest campaign, which saw the hospice building wrapped in a giant, warm hug.
To mark the hospice's 30th anniversary last year, staff recruited more than 200 volunteers to help wrap the hospice building in a huge hug.
And although Covid restrictions meant that the hug could not go ahead again this year, quick-thinking staff developed a new plan: they would wrap the building in a huge scarf.
Earlier this year, they launched a campaign looking for hundreds of handknitted scarves, with the support of SIRDAR Holdings, who donated wool and supplies to knitters.
The campaign was inundated with support, and keen supporters sent in nearly 500 handmade scarves - almost twice as many as expected.
Over the weekend, staff gathered to wrap the hospice in a giant string of scarves.
Helen Knowles, director of income generation at Wakefield Hospice, said: "Last Valentine’s Day over 220 people gathered at Wakefield Hospice to take part in the hospice hug.
“This year Covid restrictions meant this simply wasn’t possible, so we decided on a scarf hug, which we publicised across social media and in the local press.
“The response was staggering. Our initial social media post was shared over 2,000 times; and we received scarves from as far afield as Cornwall and Stornoway; plus many from right here in Wakefield.
“We just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to those who knitted a scarf and to SIRDAR who donated the yarn.
“Although the hug doesn’t directly raise money for us, we are confident it will raise awareness of Wakefield Hospice and the work we do, and may also lead to donations.
"The staff and patients loved it and it definitely boosted morale."
Following the hug, the hospice has partnered with local charities to ensure the scarves can be donated to vulnerable people in need.
And a handful of the garments will also be available to buy in exchange for a donation to Wakefield Hospice.
Wakefield Hospice provides specialist palliative care for the people of Wakefield, caring for around 240 in-patients each year, as well as providing day therapy and bereavement support.
With only a quarter of funding coming from the NHS, the hospice relies heavily on fundraising and donations to support its work.
Last year, staff estimated they were losing as much as £80,000 a month from cancelled events and the loss of income from their retail stores.
To find out more or make a donation, visit the Wakefield Hospice website.