A campaign to raise an extra £1 million by April has been launched by Southampton’s Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

The Count Me In campaign comes six months after the hospice, located at the former Moorgreen Hospital site in West End, became an independent charity.

Famous faces including TV broadcasters Chris Packham, Alan Titchmarsh and Fred Dinenage have backed the initiative in a series of video messages.

“Having been run by the NHS for over 40 years, we now find ourselves entering new ground as an independent charity,” said hospice chief executive Nigel Hartley.

“While we still have some financial support from the NHS, the growing and urgent need for our services means we need the Southampton and Hampshire communities to get behind our vision.

“We will not ignore the growing number of people who need us – both those who are dying and bereaved.

“We have a very loyal group of supporters but we need more people to know about what we do and where we are.

“We are the local hospice for everyone living in Southampton and surrounding areas up to Winchester, which is around 650,000 people.

“To survive and sustain ourselves we need their support now because we want to be there for them when they need us.”

A new website has been launched to give people a chance to learn more about the campaign and donate money.

Supporters have also been invited to send in Count Me In videos, while downloadable campaign resources have been created for people to use at fundraising events.

Countess Mountbatten Hospice entered into a new partnership with Mountbatten Isle of Wight in April.

It currently costs more than £6 million to run, which will continue to rise, and a large proportion of that money must now be raised by the community.

“We want our community to think of this as an opportunity to get behind us, as their local hospice,” said Nigel.

“For a long time our charity has only needed to raise a very small proportion of our running costs and now we need to raise lots more.

“But by moving away from the NHS, we can really shape our services to support more people because currently, we are only able to help one in every four, which we have to change.

“We want Countess Mountbatten Hospice to be among the best in the country and we are counting on our community to help us get there.”

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the growing number of services offered at Countess Mountbatten Hospice, which include psychology and bereavement support, creative therapies and an ever-expending team of carers and health care professionals who look after people in their own homes, 24 hours a day.