A Thanet charity which helps those in need in the community as well as working for its namesake wards in QEQM Hospital faces risk of closure unless funds can be raised.
The Cheerful Sparrows charity was set up as a Margate branch in 1925. It now serves the whole isle and is believed to be the sole remaining Cheerful Sparrows Charity.
By 1939 The Cheerful Sparrows Thanet Charity had raised almost £25,000 of which £20,000 went towards building the Margate General Hospital. As a thank you, and as a constant reminder, the Cheerful Sparrows Ward was named.
The charity continues to support the Cheerful Sparrows Ward at QEQM with items that may help the day to day comfort of patients and the running of the ward, such as shampoo, soaps, shaving foam, combs, razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The group, which has a team of just six Trustees, also helps people in need by making sure they have essential items and has provided for some 50 families since March.
But lockdown has meant those groups who normally donate have not been able to meet, meaning the Cheerful Sparrows may have to shut by the end of the year if alternative funding can’t be found.
Chairperson Janis Buckley said: “During the last six months, since the beginning of lockdown, Cheerful Sparrows has managed to keep going as a charity. Our team of just six trustees has been working tirelessly to get help to people, who in normal circumstances face extreme hardship – but now need our help more than ever.
“Many charities had to close their doors but we found a way to work together remotely, to get goods paid for and delivered to people. Many of them were in desperate circumstances.
“Once a request was received from the link social worker or Early Help worker, for example, we were able to respond immediately in most cases. Many children without beds are now able to get a good night’s sleep. Broken down washing machines and cookers have been replaced. Since March we have helped over 50 families look to a brighter future.
“This essential work has come at great cost to us in more ways than one. Although we are very proud to be doing our bit for our local community and the wards at our local QEQM hospital, the diverse nature of what we do has never qualified us for large grants of any sort. This is still true.
“Even during lockdown we were refused emergency funds supposed to help local charities, as we were told that we needed a ‘Specific Project’ with ‘Measurable Outcomes’ yet again. We have spent hours filling in forms over the years.
“We are extremely grateful to all of the people who have helped us in the past. Without them we would have shut up shop a year ago; but our ability to raise funds locally through personal appeals and outreach work has now gone.
“Many local people have loyally supported us – such as choirs and community groups – but they can no longer meet. The sad truth is that we are now the victims of our own success. After nearly 100 years of helping local people, The Cheerful Sparrows Thanet Charity may not be around at Christmas 2020 to help anybody.
“Our funds may be greatly diminished but not our determination to keep going, if we possibly can. That might become possible if enough people read this and decide to help us by making a donation. Please consider this.
“Help us to support the staff and patients in the wards at the QEQM Hospital. Help us to support children, families, the disabled and the elderly. Help us to support the people of our local community in these difficult times – those who need our help most.”