Children’s hospice in urgent appeal for funds

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The Smallman family – top left to right: Hayley, Gary, Ruby and Holly (in the wheelchair) – at the Claire House appeal launch party yesterday. Pic © Claire House Press

An urgent appeal has been made by Claire House hospice to help more seriously ill children across Merseyside and Cheshire.

The Help Reach Every Dying Child appeal, which was launched yesterday, aims to help raise money to build a new facility in Liverpool as its premises in Wirral are at maximum capacity.

With the increase of people requiring services from Claire House, the hospice now looks after more than 300 families and says it is only reaching one in two of the local children it could be.

David Pastor, Chief Executive of Claire House, told JMU Journalism: “The number of children coming to Claire House has risen 84% in the last six years.

“We are getting to the point where we risk having to turn families away. To stop this from happening, we are asking the people of Merseyside to help us reach every dying child.”

YouTube: Claire House Children’s Hospice

The campaign uses real statements telling stories of what life is like for families who need assistance. These will be displayed in Claire House shops, on the radio, billboards around Liverpool, and chalked onto the pavements around Liverpool One.

Nicki Givin, from Aintree, used Claire House services for six years before her son, Shea, passed away last year.

She told JMU Journalism: “There’s no manual to tell you what to do when you lose a child. Luckily most parents won’t need one, but for those who do, the practical advice of Claire House – helping to arrange the funeral and offering counselling to the whole family can be invaluable.”

One reason for the increase in demand is that advances in medicine mean that infants and young children, who are born with – or develop – serious illnesses, are living longer with ever more complex conditions.

The Ruston family – Jessica, Alison and Joe, at yesterday’s appeal launch party. Pic © Claire House Press

Lesley Fellows, Nurse Consultant at Claire House, said: “Our job is to help families spend precious time together making memories that will last a lifetime. We cannot change the prognosis of the children who come to Claire House but we can help families cope at some of the toughest times of their lives.”

Claire House already has a site in West Derby, from which it offers limited day-care.

In order to deliver the complex medical care the children referred to the hospice need on a 24-hour basis, the charity will need to extensively renovate some areas of the old location and build others.

The appeal hopes to raise £14million for its new state-of-the-art hospice, as well as increasing the care the charity offers families in their homes and helping more children at the Wirral facility.

About Annie Williams, JMU Journalism