First birthday celebrations for Hospice in the Weald for Children

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Hospice in the Weald for Children is celebrating its first anniversary of providing care and support to children in the community.

Following its launch a year ago, Hospice in the Weald for Children now supports more than 80 children, parents and siblings throughout East Sussex and Kent. From home visits for respite care and supporting families with hospital visits to memory-making activities and music therapy, the specialist team is there to help.

A particular highlight over the past year was a Christmas party full of sensory fun tailored to the needs of children and their families. As demand has continued to grow, the team has expanded, recently welcoming a children’s clinical nurse specialist, a new support worker, a therapist, and a specialist social worker.

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Tracy Smith, who heads the service, said: “We are so proud to have reached this special milestone. Being able to develop bonds and make a difference to the lives of the children, young people and families we support is a privilege and joy for the whole team.

The Children's team - Hospice in the Weald.The Children's team - Hospice in the Weald.
The Children's team - Hospice in the Weald.

"As need in the area continues to grow, we have expanded our team and are looking forward to supporting even more children and families in the coming year.”

Kaz and Nick, parents of four-year-old Kit and little brother Aurie, are among the many families who have developed a special bond with the team.

“Kit is wonderful, everything he can do is a huge triumph,” explained Kaz. “We were initially told he wouldn’t survive, so it’s amazing to see his progress. When you have a disabled child, everything is just that little bit more difficult.

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"It really makes a difference to have that extra pair of hands to help with bathing, a visit to the GP, reading to him, playing with him; somebody really caring for him, so we can get on with something else. It really has added a whole new dimension to our lives.

Support worker Jess with Kaz and son Kit.Support worker Jess with Kaz and son Kit.
Support worker Jess with Kaz and son Kit.

“They had a wonderful Christmas party, the whole family went. It was totally about Kit and his needs - and the other children’s needs - rather than trying to make him ‘fit’, which is often what happens.”

Describing his son, Nick said: “Kit is a happy lad; he loves to hold your hand and gives big kisses and hugs. I couldn’t wish for a better child. I can’t describe how good it is for us to have the support. It’s the little things in life that make a big difference. To have someone to talk to means so much. There’s also all the general support and signposting - we’ve found out so much that we didn’t know.

“It opens a door to another world. You feel you are supported and can do things you didn’t think you could do before. It’s magical. It makes the world a better place.”

The Children’s team is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for children and families in April, while future plans include the development of a new Children’s Centre later this year.

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