A HOSPICE has turned to technology with the help of long-time supporters as the pandemic throws up concerns that cash might have had its chips.

A contactless collection box has been installed in the reception of the in-patient unit at St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington, thanks to the generosity of Haughton Chippy.

Proprietors for the past 40 years Pamela and Frank Suhadolnik wanted to help the hospice in memory of their friend  Liz Smith, who was helped by the hospice before passing away. They were joined by her husband Mel, a member of staff at the Haughton Chippy, for the official handover at St Teresa’s.

Haughton Chippy has had a collection box in the shop for years and the owners are long-time supporters of St Teresa’s.

The business was in the process of switching to digital before the pandemic struck so was able to trade in takeaways during the lockdowns. But cash donations to the charity box were severely hit.

Pamela said: “Liz was cheerful, positive and amazing and we wanted to do something in her memory that would have a lasting impact.

“Rather than just donate money, we wanted to provide something that honours Liz’s memory and makes it easier to collect donations so the hospice can continue to provide the vital support that it does.”

St Teresa’s chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “We need options that meet the demands of modern day lives and the contactless collection points are a much safer way to make donations as no cash is left in the machine. It’s a perfect way to honour Liz’s memory.”

The electronic collection machine is the first of its kind for St Teresa’s but the hope is to introduce them across the region.

“People will be able to assist by helping us install them as tributes or in the corporate world,” said Jane. “They give people the opportunity to donate when they don’t have cash and I can see that they will become the future of fundraising.”

The contactless collection point is the latest in a series of ingenious initiatives introduced as St Teresa’s strives to raise funds after traditional means were decimated by COVID-19.

It still needs to raise £3m a year to provide free, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

Donations can still be made to an emergency appeal launched in March at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.