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Brendan Rodgers helps launch Northern Ireland Hospice emergency appeal for essential care funds

The Northern Ireland Hospice and Children's Hospice have started an emergency appeal for donations.

Hospice ambassador and Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers launched the 'Now, More Than Ever' campaign yesterday.

Brendan, who is from Carnlough, Co Antrim, spoke on video from his home, asking people to donate what they can to help raise essential funds for hospice care.

Staff said the spread of Covid-19 has already had a devastating impact on the charity's income. With fundraising events postponed and charity shops closed, the funds that the hospice heavily relies on have stopped.

Chief executive Heather Weir explained that the prospect of an estimated loss of £10m by the end of 2020 has forced the charity to launch this appeal.

"We decided we needed an emergency appeal for donations when it was clear that, if we didn't take immediate action, our vital care services were at risk," she said.

"I know this is a worrying time for everyone and many are concerned about the future; we are asking for whatever help people are able to give.

"Our appeal is aptly named 'Now, More Than Ever' because we know that our supporters, who are also suffering through this crisis, will want to protect our future."

Ms Weir said it may be the most important appeal for the hospice since its formation.

She added: "Our nurses, doctors and support teams are tirelessly providing care to their patients throughout this crisis.

"We need to continue our specialist services and help those that need it.

"I have faith that the community will rally behind hospice as they have done many times before. I want to thank everyone that helps us in the weeks ahead, every donation counts. Please donate at nihospice.org - we need your help. Now, more than ever."

Belfast Telegraph