Hospice opens up gardens to families in crisis

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.

Little Havens children’s hospice in Essex is offering free use of its gardens to families experiencing an exceptional crisis during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The hospice has extensive grounds that are accessible and tranquil, including landscaped gardens and surrounding woodland. The charity is offering the gardens to families with children up to the age of 19, who may have an illness, long term condition, additional learning difficulties or other exceptional family need. The child does not need to be under the care of the hospice, but must be referred by a professional (statutory or voluntary) involved with the family. An assessment must take place to ensure vulnerable families most in need take priority.

Head of Children’s Services Katie White says: “With our spacious gardens, carefully planned access and thorough cleaning schedule, we’re able to offer this space for up to 90 minutes for families experiencing an exceptional crisis, or where time away from the family home would help to deescalate a situation.

“We have a range of specialist and standard playground equipment, sensory trails and secluded areas ideal for picnics or quiet time. We feel that families caring for a child with additional needs could really benefit from this offer.”

Toby-Jay Harding, 7, has been visiting the gardens with his family. Mum Jayne says: “To be able to use the Little Havens garden is a lifeline to us. We are having to shield and it’s really tough on Toby-Jay as he has limited understanding, his behaviour is affected and this is starting to have an impact on his brother. To be able to come to such a big space that’s safe with lots for them to do means the world to my family.”

The Little Havens building is closed apart from use of the toilet or changing facilities, and family members must be free of Covid-19 symptoms before attending. Garden equipment will be cleaned after use.

Professionals or healthcare workers wishing to make a referral on behalf of a family can contact havenshospices.lhipu@nhs.net  or call 01702 552 200. Little Havens families can contact the hospice directly to request this support.

For more information visit Havens Hospices

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