Haven House Children's Hospice believes in the best possible life for every baby, child and young person with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their families, living in our local communities.
They believe in a holistic approach and support the whole family during the most difficult of times. Haven House provides specialist services including respite, day, and end-of-life care, as well as therapeutic support and counselling for the family, at no cost to them. The hospice is a former family home which provides a tranquil setting for families. They are one of the only UK children’s hospices with a dedicated holistic centre, providing services like Therapeutic Yoga, Physiotherapy, and Music Therapy.
Their key objective is to continue to be there for the families they support, who have needed their services more than ever during the pandemic.
COVID-19 had an especially severe impact on the families supported by Haven House. As well as looking after a seriously ill child, many of these families were also looking after other children, including home-schooling, and dealing with the impact of Covid on other family members.
In response to these additional challenges, the charity have increased their focus on support for the whole family, by maximising use of the hospice’s family flat - which has bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and lounge. This means the whole family can stay together with their seriously ill child, which often hasn’t been possible in hospital, during the pandemic, because of visitor restrictions.
The families we support – who are caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition – have needed us more than ever during the pandemic. Staying with a seriously ill child in hospital has been difficult, if not impossible, because of Covid-related restrictions on hospital visits. Our family flat has been a lifeline for these families because it allows the whole family, including brothers and sisters, to stay together when a child is end-of-life. Thanks to the generous donation from ICAP, we were able to fund 100 additional nights of accommodation in the Haven House family flat during the pandemic, which allowed families to stay together when they most needed support from each other, and from the dedicated staff at Haven House. We’re very grateful to ICAP for their generous donation at such a critical time.Jo Carter, Director of Income Generation and Marketing at Haven House
Thanks to support from ICAP Charity Day 2020, Haven House were able to fund 100 extra nights’ accommodation in the family flat during the pandemic – just when families most needed this extra support. Sara’s family were one of the families helped:
We could not believe the care and support we received. People were there 24/7 for Monty and for us all. Hospice staff filled our fridge with food and the hospice were not asking for a penny. It makes me so emotional thinking about it – everyone was so caring for us all.Monty's mother, Sara
When Sara and Pete found out they were pregnant with their fourth child, Monty, they were over the moon.
But tragically, during Sara’s twelve-week scan, an abnormality was detected. Following further tests, the family found out that Monty had Edwards’ Syndrome. Sadly most babies with this rare and serious condition will die before or shortly after being born.
Sara says: “The pregnancy was so hard. It was unknown. As soon as Monty was born, we didn’t know what was going to happen and whether he would live for hours, days or weeks.”
After a week in hospital Sara and Pete were able to bring Monty home. He was able to meet his older siblings Hugo, 7, William, 6 and Felicity, 3. At this point, it was suggested that Haven House could offer the family respite care.
Sara continued: “When a hospice was suggested, I wasn’t jumping at the idea. The perception of a hospice at that time, was one of a place that was depressing and surrounded by death. However, it was the height of lockdown, and we felt isolated and tired. We welcomed the support.
We went to stay in the hospice’s family flat, which is just down the corridor from where Monty’s bedroom was, and where he was being cared for by the hospice nurses. Pete and I were exhausted, and it meant we could get some rest and respite knowing that we were still close to Monty, and our whole family could be together.
We could not believe the care and support we received. People were there 24/7 for Monty and for us all. Hospice staff filled our fridge with food and the hospice were not asking for a penny. It makes me so emotional thinking about it – everyone was so caring for us all.
It was an escape and Hugo, William and Felicity were so well looked after by the play specialists. They could use the playground and the beautiful grounds. They were in the playroom enjoying arts and crafts. For them, this was their time too.
If I could summarise Haven House, I would pick these three words: ‘The unexpected’ – it was everything we were not expecting. ‘Fun’ because the children made many happy and special memories there. And finally, ‘God-given’, it met all the needs we didn’t realise we had.
Monty was so precious to us no matter how short his life was. Taking him to the hospice, other people cared for him and loved him too. The staff gave his life value, and this was so special to us.”