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New head of philanthropy sought by The Ella Rowcroft Endowment Trust

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a major role in giving back to the community, as well as leaving a legacy for the future of a historic charity.

By LLM Reporters  |  January 17, 2022

Few experiences can be quite as intensely difficult as going through a life-limiting illness, and seeing the people you love go through the ups and downs can be incredibly hard to witness. But one thing that can make the entire situation a little easier on all parties is palliative care, which can provide comfort and support when it’s needed the most.

Founded in 1982, Devon-based Rowcroft Hospice does just that – and has recently launched the Ella Rowcroft Endowment Trust as a means of developing long-term income to fund its long-term ambitions. Now, the charity is on the hunt for a dedicated head of philanthropy to lead on an ambitious new project to increase charitable donations and funding, and to make a dramatic and positive impact on the lives of thousands for generations to come.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a major role in giving back to the community, as well as leaving a legacy for the future of a historic charity, there has already been significant interest in the position – but the charity is eager to find someone who is the perfect fit to take the project forward.

The new and exciting head of philanthropy role will see the successful applicant lead on the major gifts income stream for the Trust, with the opportunity to take ownership and shape something new in the long history of Rowcroft. This will be achieved through maximising philanthropic income by securing major gifts from high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals, and other charitable sources such as banks, family offices and corporates. Ensuring excellent donor stewardship will also help the charity to reach its ultimate goal of raising £5 million for the Endowment Trust over the next five years, growing to £10 million in ten years’ time.  

Rowcroft Hospice
Rowcroft Hospice supports adults living with life-limiting illnesses in South Devon

The demand for end-of-life services is increasing, and although 80 per cent of UK residents say they hope to spend the end of their lives at home, less than a quarter are currently able to achieve this. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen over 148,000 people die with the virus in the UK since it began in March 2019, has proved to be a particular challenge. Many patients have been unable to spend precious time with friends and family.

This has highlighted the need for improvement in the ways that we, and those close to us, are cared for during life-limiting illness, with the entire nation forced to reflect on what they want for their loved ones moving forward.

“Looking back over recent times, it’s been so difficult and challenging for us all,” says Mark Hawkins, CEO of Rowcroft Hospice.

Rowcroft Hospice
From offering advice and emotional support, to specialist end of life palliative care, Rowcroft Hospice are there to help

“And yet through the darkness of the pandemic, we have seen our community shine brighter than ever. We are eternally grateful for the incredible generosity of our local community – to all the hundreds of people who have given time, expertise, hard work and financial support to help us get through this pandemic and continue caring for our patients and families across South Devon.”

Ella Rowcroft lived in the 22-acre Rowcroft estate in Torquay after the First World War. Moved by the plight of local communities during the Great Depression, she turned the main house into a convalescence home for women and children, and after her death it continued to serve the community as a nursing home. The Torquay Lions Club worked with trustees at the house to turn it into a hospice, and in 1982 Rowcroft Hospice was opened, named in her memory. The new Ella Rowcroft Endowment Trust has been named to honour her work, and is set to bring Rowcroft into the 21st century, offering a more unique way to support the charity’s vital work today.

South Devon-based Rowcroft Hospice has been providing specialist palliative and end-of-life care to the highest possible standards, free of charge, across 300 square miles of South Devon for the past 40 years. Supporting more than 2,400 patients annually, 80 per cent of the care provided is within patients’ homes, allowing them to remain as comfortable as possible, with Rowcroft being there for them when they need it the most.

Understanding the extremity of a situation which forces patients to reach into the very depths of their humanity, and to confront realities which most of us do our best to avoid, the Rowcroft team offer a kind and caring service that has, for many,  made all the difference in comforting  them in their hour of need.

Rowcroft Hospice
Rowcroft’s care is offered free of charge to all adults, irrespective of diagnosis or circumstance

The hospice supports patients across South Devon and goes the extra mile to ensure that they feel at ease. While it endeavours to support the highest possible number of those in need in their own homes through its Hospice at Home team, its 12-bed in-patient unit offers care for patients whose complex needs cannot be met elsewhere.

“When I was admitted here on my 73rd birthday, the welcome was absolutely outstanding,” a Rowcroft patient remarks.

“The food, the care, the attention to detail, the efforts to make me feel totally relaxed. Knowing you’ve got people right behind you, the fear goes away. I’ve watched the staff working and believe me, it’s not work – it’s love. When you feel that love, it’s like being covered by a giant, soothing duvet.” 

Currently, Rowcroft supports one in three people in its community who are eligible for care, but its ambition is to increase that to two in three by 2030. This is against a backdrop of an increase in the elderly population and an increase in the number living longer and with more complex health needs, with demand expected to continue to grow in the meantime.

Rowcroft Hospice
Rowcroft cares for patients in its 12-bed Inpatient Unit in Torquay, but the majority of Rowcroft’s work is carried out in the comfort of people’s own homes

By playing a leading role in developing a long-term, sustainable income stream for the hospice, the head of philanthropy will ensure that Rowcroft is able to achieve this ambitious goal, and offer the dignified, caring, end of life support that everybody deserves.

“We want to close the gap between the 80 per cent of people wishing to die at home and the 26 per cent who are currently able to,” says Mr Hawkins.

The kindness of Ella Rowcroft may have sparked the story – and name – of Rowcroft, but it’s the generosity and support of others that keep it going. The charity is hoping to optimise that to help more people than ever in 2022, and the Head of Philanthropy will play a key role in bringing this to fruition.

For more details about the job role, email info@ellarowcroft.org.uk or call 01803 210823. You can also visit rowcrofthospice.org.uk to learn more about the charity’s work.