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Hospice in the Weald for Children celebrates its first birthday

There’s plenty to celebrate for Hospice in the Weald for Children after it proudly reached its first birthday. Having launched last year, the Children’s team now provides care and support to more than 80 children, parents and siblings throughout Kent and East Sussex.

There have been plenty of highlights during the past year, including a Christmas party hosted at the Hospice in Pembury full of sensory fun tailored to the needs of children and their families. The team’s support on a daily basis covers many areas, from home visits for respite care to memory-making activities.

The team has expanded as demand for the offering has continued to grow. Recently, the team welcomed a children’s clinical nurse specialist, a new support worker, a therapist, and a specialist social worker. Tracy Smith, Head of Service for Children and Young People, is happy with the progress shown so far.

Children's service turns one

“We are so proud to have reached this special milestone,” Tracy said. “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. 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. 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 are able to get on with something else. It really has added a whole new dimension to our lives.

Jess with family

“They held a wonderful party at Christmas, 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 eldest 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.”

He added: “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 planning 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.

Child at christmas party

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