Since my retirement I have been volunteering for Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford.
The hospice is set in beautiful forest grounds under the control of the City Of London. Previously a care home, known as the White House, the land is designated for community use only.
Haven House cares for children from birth to 19 years of age, with life limiting or life threatening conditions. The hospice also believes in supporting their parents/ carers, siblings and other family members for as long as they need the services offered. The families are referred to Haven House by hospitals and other health professionals.
The children, unlike hospices for adults, live at home with their families and come to Haven House for a range of services which are all free of charge.
Each family is allocated 12 days a year respite care, when their child can stay overnight at the hospice under the care of qualified nurses and trained support staff. This gives the parents and siblings time to go away or just spend time together.
This is an important and valued part of the work of the hospice.
Other services offered include:
The sibling group meet during school holidays and have fun days either at the hospice or going out for the day. It is important for these youngsters to be with other children with similar home challenges, who understand what life is like for them.
Hospices play a vital role in communities. In addition to the approximate 25% funding from the government, Haven House needs to raise £4 million a year to meet the needs of our families in north east London and parts of Essex, by providing these services.
There is a large team of volunteers (although there is always room for more!) undertaking a wide range of roles which include assisting in one of the charity shops, fundraising (you may have seen me with a bucket outside the tube!), gardening to maintain the beautiful grounds, helping with the children in care and the sibling group, reception duties, organising your own fundraising event, assisting at major events such as the Summer Festival , Pumpkin Plod and Winter Festival.
The hospice is a happy place. We aim to give the children with life limiting or life threatening conditions the best possible life with lots of fun and stimulation. I feel very privileged to be part of the team.