A GROUND-BREAKING awareness campaign will see hospices in Bury and Radcliffe featured on the small screen to bust myths about the care they provide.

Bury Hospice in Rochdale Old Road and Grace’s Place Children’s Hospice in Radcliffe have launched a pioneering TV advert with other hospices across the North West.

The Think Again commercial was launched this week and will be shown for three weeks during peak-time Granada shows including Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

It uses video clips of real patients, families, staff and volunteers to rebuff mis-conceptions which may prevent hospice use, reinforcing that hospices are charities and raise vital funds.

The 26 hospices taking part in the initiative have shared the cost of the television air time in a bid to reach an audience of more than five million people and will split equally the money raised.

Jacqui Comber, chief executive of Bury Hospice, said: “Bury Hospice and Grace’s Place Children’s Hospice are delighted to be part of the North West Hospices TV campaign.

“It is an exciting project and we are proud to be working with colleagues across the area to pioneer this group approach.

“By encouraging people to think again about their local hospice, we hope we can reach out and connect with more people in our local communities.”

The 26 hospices involved in the campaign care for about 29,400 patients each year and have total annual running costs of £85.5 million, £59 million of which has to be found through fundraising.

The commercial marks the first time hospices in the UK have worked collaboratively in this way and was the brainchild of Sue McGraw, chief executive of St John’s Hospice in Lancaster.

She said: “Hospices across the North West share many frustrations over the common misconceptions people hold about us.

“Time and time again we hear that people believe their local hospice is a frightening or depressing place. They assume it is only for older people or just those diagnosed with cancer rather than all life-limiting conditions.

“All these things can be create barriers to people accessing hospice care. We also regularly find ourselves tackling the misconception that hospices are fully-funded by the NHS.”

For more information or to make a donation, go to nwhospices.org.uk.