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Friday, September 21, 2007


Plight of children's hospice revealed
East Anglian Daily Times
19 September 2007

HOSPICE bosses must raise nearly £11,000 a day this year to care for some of East Anglia's most seriously ill children, it has been revealed.

East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) faces a bill of £4.9million during 2007/08 to run its three hospices in Ipswich, Quidenham in Norfolk, and Milton, near Cambridgeshire.

The organisation will only receive £1m (20%) of its costs from statutory organisations and must rely on voluntary donations to raise the remaining £3.9m.

EACH provides expert care for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and cared for 302 children last year - 79 at its Ipswich hospice.

Simon Hempsall, EACH's marketing and communications manager, said: “This year we anticipate it will cost in the region of £4.9m to run the services across three hospice sites. Only a small proportion of our funding comes from statutory sources, which means the income from our supporters is absolutely vital.

“The majority of our costs are not for specialist equipment but for delivering the care and support so vital to the children and their families.

“At EACH, we aim to maximise the quality of life for children with a life-threatening condition and to support their families.”

He added: “Some children may only have a very short time to live, perhaps only weeks or months, others may reach young adulthood but our aim is always the same - to enhance their quality of life and support their family.”

Caz Wilkinson, from Felixstowe, understands the value of children's hospices to families. Her 12-year-old son, Jack, who died after losing a courageous fight with cancer, regularly fundraised for EACH with his family.

Although Jack never used the service himself, his mother has received bereavement help from the Ipswich hospice since his death and has vowed to continue raising funds for the charity in her son's memory.

“Jack knew he had been ill and wanted to support other children with life-threatening illnesses. He was quite an incredible young man,” she said.

“If people going along in their own lives just spare a little thought for the families who are living with these illnesses and just do a little something, it means so much.”

The charity is appealing for support from the public ahead of National Children's Hospice Week, which takes place next week and is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The children's hospice movement began with Helen House in Oxford which opened its doors in November 1982.

There are now 41 operational children's hospice services in the UK, including the three in East Anglia run by EACH.

The charity's hospices not only provide end of life care, they also offer respite care which enables parents to take a well-earned rest from their care responsibilities, bereavement help, music therapy, specialist play, physiotherapy and occupational therapy and information services to relatives.

Anyone interested in supporting EACH or organising their own event can contact the fundraising officer on 01953 715559/01223 205180 or visit www.each.org.uk.


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