A FAMILY from Luckington, near Malmesbury, who regularly visit Helen House children's hospice, are calling for donations in a final push to raise the remaining funds needed to refurbish Helen House to bring it up to modern standards for families from Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
Helen & Douglas House has the time and expertise to care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and support their families.
The two hospice houses offer specialist symptom and pain management, medically-supported short breaks and end-of-life care, as well as counselling and practical support for the whole family.
Helen & Douglas House has received £436,000 from NHS England to do some of the work needed to future-proof the hospice and the charity has raised £500,000 through donations made since the appeal was launched at the end of 2013.
But they need a further £500,000 to complete the essential work.
Over 30 years on from when the hospice first opened its doors as the world’s first children’s hospice, the time has come to up-date-the facilities.
Rosie Simmens is 11 years old and lives in Luckington with her mum Cara. Rosie has a progressive neurological condition called Leigh’s Syndrome and has been coming to Helen House since she was two.
Mum Cara stays in one of the family flats when Rosie has respite stays. This means she can get a rest and enjoy time to herself while Rosie is looked after and has fun.
Cara said: “The food is exceptional and homemade, the washing is done for me, I can enjoy a spa and massage and often explore Oxford.
"I also get emotional support and being around people and families going through a similar situation is invaluable.
“Helen House is such a wonderful place which we enjoy coming to, giving us vital help and support. However, it is now over 30 years old so it does need up-dating with improvements, including piped oxygen in all the rooms and wider corridors and spaces so larger, modern wheelchairs and beds can be moved around.
"The spa, music, art and plays areas are places we spend time together and they along with the kitchen and dining areas do need updating.
"The refurbishment will also provide a new dedicated teaching space for children so they are able to continue their lessons during their stay. So please help by making a donation if you can.”
Anyone wishing to donate should visit the charity’s website at helenanddouglas.org.uk or contact the fundraising team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01865 799150.