Last month we announced East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) as the recipient of our annual charity contribution, as chosen by our team. Since then, we have visited one of their hospices and been fortunate enough for two representatives of EACH to attend our recent team training session, to tell us more about the support offered.

Whilst the word ‘hospice’ may evoke bleak images, upon arrival at The Treehouse, EACH’s Suffolk hospice, we were immediately comforted by the bright, welcoming and homely atmosphere. We later discovered a brilliant photography project by EACH and parents who access The Treehouse, aiming to challenge the misconceptions around hospices (you can find out more here).

On our visit, we were shown around the accommodation on offer, which includes bedroom and bathroom facilities and a family suite, to enable families to spend quality time together and stay close to their child during either short breaks or end-of-life care. We learnt that the hospice provides a range of support for families of children with life-limiting illnesses, such as respite care and access to a range of therapeutic facilities and specialist equipment. We were given a tour of everything on offer, including the hydrotherapy pool (for both therapy and offering families the opportunity to swim together, where this might not be possible at a public pool), multi-sensory studio and music room. The play and lounge areas contained toys, games consoles and craft materials and it was lovely to see such fantastic outdoor facilities, including specialist play equipment, a mud kitchen, a sensory garden and a woodland walk for families to explore together. Other amenities that can be taken for granted are also provided, such as access to baths (which can be particularly pleasant for those families who only have wet room facilities at home), the opportunity for freshly cooked meals, and a peaceful private space for families to retreat to during difficult times. We also learnt that the hospice offers respite and end-of-life care in the home environment, and provide ongoing support for families following bereavement, such as art therapy and memory work with siblings.

Such amazing and inspiring support understandably comes at great expense: it costs an astounding £5,000 per day to run the hospice and continue to fund the support services on offer. With fundraising being so crucial, we were delighted to welcome representatives of EACH to our team meeting, to hear more about how we can help. They gave an inspiring talk about the work of the EACH hospices and shared a poignant poem written by a parent of a disabled child. We are pleased to have been able to contribute towards the fundraising efforts through our £1,000 annual charity donation, and want to continue to support this incredible organisation with making a difference to children and families through further fundraising this year.