THE charity Dr Kershaw's Hospice is sending out an SOS to the town's residents after the closure its four shops in Oldham has left it with a shortfall of nearly £650,000.

Bosses say the deficit will increase as the closures continue through the lockdown during what would have been the shops' busiest period in the run up to Christmas.

Fundraising events are all still cancelled for the foreseeable future and the hospice lottery has lost more than 1,000 members since the pandemic began back in March.

To date the, Dr Kershaw's, in Turf Lane, Royton has been left with a shortfall of £649,000.

Organisers are is now reaching out to the community for support as it costs £9,000 a day to be able to provide dedicated care and support for its patients at the hospice.

Along with the shop closures, there has been a steep decline in donations, a blanket cancellation on all fundraising events and a significant reduction in members for its weekly lottery.

Dr Kershaw’s chief executive Joanne Sloan said: “We are so very grateful for the wonderful, generous support we have received from the people of Oldham over the years. We recognise how hard these current times are for many people in our community. For those who are able to support our Hospice in any way they can we are eternally grateful.”

The hospice shops have now had to take all their Christmas hospice branded stock, which would normally generate a significant amount from in-store customers, on to both their phone lines and online shop to try to sell what they can to the community in the run up to Christmas.

Rebecca Bentham, head of income development at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice is responsible for the running of all four charity shops.

She said: “Our priority since we reopened the shops has been to maintain a safe shopping environment whilst maximising sales where possible.

"To close the shops once again at such a busy shopping time of the year is catastrophic for us, and a hit we were hoping we wouldn’t have to take.

"We are now hoping that our Christmas cards and crackers along with our 2021 calendars and diaries can sell as well online and by phone so that we can at least continue to bring in some revenue for the Hospice.”

The hospice’s lottery is one of the biggest, consistent sources of income that Dr Kershaw’s Hospice can rely on, and the loss of members has proved difficult over the past seven months.

Joanne Penketh, lottery manager, said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, our weekly lottery has lost over 1,000 members which is totally understandable in the current situation.

"This means it makes it much harder for us to generate the £3.6 million each year that we need to keep the Hospice doors open for those who need our help and support.

"The £1 a week that our lottery members give means so much to the hospice and we are extremely grateful to all those who support us.

"Our lottery offers a weekly jackpot prize of £1,000 and 5 x £50 cash prizes, it’s a chance for people in the community to win as well as supporting their local hospice.”

Meanwhile, the hospice’s in-patient unit has closed temporarily to facilitate a new build, due for completion in the New Year.

Dr Kershaw’s priority now is to dedicate all of its clinical resources to patients in the community through its "Hospice at Home" nursing service and domicillary care service - "Caring Hands" along with their new overnight "Rapid Response" service which is currently being piloted.

Crucial day patient services at the hospice’s wellbeing centre had to be suspended at the beginning of the pandemic back in March, the Hospice is exploring a variety of different ways of supporting people who would normally access this service.

To purchase your Dr Kershaw’s Christmas cards, crackers, calendars or diaries visit their online Christmas shop at or call the Hospice on 0161 624 9984.

To sign up to the Hospice Lottery visit or call the Hospice Lottery Team on 0161 624 9213.