A petition has been set up after our exclusive story over plans to rebrand EllenorLions Hospice.
The change could come as the Northfleet charity, which provides hospice care for people right across north Kent, reviews its identity to avoid confusion when fundraising.
While a final naming decision has yet to be made, Lions club members said they were stunned when they were informed that the trustees agreed to omit the name ‘Lions’ from their brand.
A Lions’ spokesman said: “ We are immensely proud of our hospice, and we recognise that our direct financial contributions represent a small percentage of the annual income now needed, but we do generate significant indirect funds by promoting the hospice more widely and encouraging others to give.
“We are bitterly disappointed at the trustees’ decision, and call upon them to reconsider, but the service to patients is paramount and we will continue to offer our support and work for their benefit.
“The revelation that the branding link with Lions is to be broken has caused utter dismay, particularly among those club members, and their supporters, who raise funds, work as volunteers, or generally support the hospice both now and for over thirty years past.”
EllenorLions’ chief executive Claire Cardy said: “The most important thing in all that we do is the excellent care we provide to patients and families.
“We are not reducing services or cutting down the care we give – we are trying to help more people, and ensure we can raise enough money to do that.
“As a charity, we currently have to raise over £6 million a year to care for more than 2500 people of all ages, every year.
“We are targeting our fundraising into new areas, and are finding that new potential supporters find our current branding confusing. We also know that the fundraising climate is getting more competitive.
“The local Lions Clubs played a vital and significant role in raising most of the money to build the original hospice building. We will always be grateful for this fantastic achievement, and the ongoing support we get from many local supporters.
“We’re not suggesting breaking the branding link with Lions, just repositioning our branding to reflect they are one of a series of important contributors.
“We are continuing to consult with them about ways to recognise their contribution. We are looking at this issue, but at this time there has been no change of name or any change of logo and we will continue to operate as EllenorLions Hospices until further notice.”
The Lions Hospice, as it was originally known, was built after 10 years of fundraising that turned an anonymous £200k donation into the £1.5m needed for construction.
The petition, which has about 400 signatures, can be signed at www.petitions24.com/north_west_kent_lions
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