We urgently need to replace the roof of our Hospice Inpatient Unit. So many people have been here for expert, compassionate care during the pandemic – and hundreds more will need to come here this year. Today, we ask for your help to Raise the Roof.

Hello, I’m Rachel Shuttleworth and I’m Deputy Matron here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

I’m reaching out to you because we’ve recently been told the old roof on our Inpatient Unit has badly deteriorated over the last year, becoming so bad that it won’t last another winter.

It’s the worst possible timing, just as we’re coming out of the pandemic, the most difficult time in over 40 years of looking after local people. But we’ve been told quite clearly that, unless we completely replace the roof this summer, we may have to close some or all of our Inpatient Unit bedrooms when the bad weather returns next winter.

We love our Inpatient Unit but this part of our Hospice was built in the late 70s. In really cold weather, we’ve had to use portable radiators in some rooms, as the roof doesn’t hold the warmth in that well. And, over the last few years, we’ve become used to having to put the odd bucket out in corridors and stairwells to catch the drips after a heavy downpour.

So far, it’s not a problem that’s affected any of the patient or family areas and I can say, hand on heart, that it’s never impacted on the care that my colleagues and I have been able to give to local patients and their families. Under this roof we’ve always delivered excellent care, and made possible astonishing moments that have become precious memories for families, families like Nathan’s who’s story you can read here.

We can’t make do and mend any more. Our annual buildings survey showed that the roof has deteriorated too much over this last winter and patching won’t work anymore. We have to pay for a completely new roof – costing £260,000 – and we have to have it in place before next winter.

We don’t have money set aside for this. The fact we’ve made it through COVID-19 (so far) is simply down to the support we received from brilliantly kind people like you. There’s not a nurse or staff member here that doesn’t understand the impact of your gifts – and I thank you on behalf of all of them.

We couldn’t have foreseen this – and this sudden new cost puts a huge strain on our finances. To see the other side of the pandemic, to have delivered so many special moments under this roof, but then to have to shut beds because we can’t keep patients warm and dry would be just awful.

And so I ask for your help, once more if you can, in this emergency. The new roof will cost £13.50 per square foot – but it will be so much better. We will we be able to put all the buckets away for good, and each room will also be so much warmer, It’ll mean a better environment for our patients and their families – and less extra work and stress for us. I can’t tell you how good that sounds right now!

Thank you for any contribution you feel able to make to this Raise the Roof appeal.

I send you and your family every best wish from the whole team here at St Mary’s.

Rachel Shuttleworth, Deputy Matron.

Thank you to everyone that has already supported the campaign so far, including:

We urgently need to replace the roof of our Hospice Inpatient Unit. Today, we ask for your help to Raise the Roof.