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Children’s Hospice South West’s response to coronavirus

Last update issued on: 22 April 2020 

How You Can Help Us At This Time 

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to everyone that plays their part in supporting CHSW.   

This is an unprecedented time for everyone. For the wonderful children and families that we support, there are a great many additional challenges because of fear, lockdown and isolation to name but a few. 

Like all charities at the moment, most of our sources of income have all but dried up. We are very concerned about the future and our ability to raise money to ensure that we can continue to deliver the support services to our children and families. While we are appreciative of the initial support the Government has given to charities at this time, we are aware that this will only be for a limited period. Therefore, inevitably, raising the income needed to finance the running of the hospices will be hugely challenging in the coming months.    

Therefore, please can we ask you to consider holding “virtual” events through our Be Incredible campaignmaking a donation or playing our lottery today and stand with families - together we can continue to make the most of short and precious lives across the South West.  

Thank you.  

Co-Founder and CEO Eddie Farwell 

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General Statement 

Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) is continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation with regards to coronavirus pandemic. The following are measures that CHSW has put into place to ensure that we can continue to support our most vulnerable children whilst also protecting our staff, volunteers and supporters.  

We will in every circumstance heed the advice of Public Health England (PHE) and the Government. Also, we respectfully ask that all supporters abide by this advice. 

We do request that all non-essential visitors refrain from visiting our hospices during this time, and that donated goods are not dropped off at our hospice sites or hospice shops.  

Thank you. 

Our Care Services  

We do not underestimate how worried and concerned families must be and the potential challenges they may face over the next few weeks and months.  

Our hospices remain open but at this time have been limited to end of life, emergency and symptom control stays only. All routine respite has for now been cancelled, however, we continue to provide ongoing support to families over the phone. 

We are continuing to liaise with our families to advise of any changes to our care service as and when we have updates.  

We have restricted access to all care areas within our hospice sites to essential staff only and have stringent procedures and policies in place to ensure we protect our families and staff at all times.  

For children staying at the hospice, we will agree on an individual basis the number of family members staying with them/visiting members as appropriate, we absolutely recognise the need to be with your child. 

If families do have any questions or concerns, please do call us, we are here for you 24/7.  

Call our Care team 

Working in Partnership with others to support the NHS 

Now, in addition to the services being provided to families already known to the charity, each hospice is working with the NHS and other local care providers to offer support to other vulnerable children and young people if it is required.  

CHSW is doing as much as it can to help support children and families and the NHS during this challenging time, by offering to work differently alongside other providers to help keep hospital admissions down and free up essential resources needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.  

We have already started supporting care in children’s homes and working alongside some of the Children’s Community Nurse teams. This builds on the excellent relationships we already have with the NHS and other local providers.  

We will also host a hub at each of its hospices where local care professionals can work together to identify gaps in care provision for the most vulnerable children and young people and look at the best services to support them.  

We have been collaborating with the NHS as well as other local health care professionals to drive towards doing all we can to keep our children and families safe and support in new ways where we can utilise our expertise such as out in the community, supporting families in their homes where required.  

The Charlton Farm team are working together with the Lifetime Service and Jessie May to meet the needs of the families that each of these services care for through this challenging time. 

On 11 April, a dedicated advice number was launched, on behalf of this collaborative approach, to offer 24/7 access to advice and support to families. The details of this advice line have been provided to families directly. 

So far, via the advice line, we have been supporting families with enquiries including ‘shielding’ criteria and documentation, accessing local support with provisions and prescriptions, and concerns about contingency planning. Our nurses and doctors are more than happy to answer a range of queries via this advice line. 

Our Fundraising   

We would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued support of CHSW throughout these uncertain times.   

All of our immediate upcoming fundraising events have been cancelled and in line with guidance from Public Heath England we are reviewing all of our forthcoming fundraising activity on an ongoing basis. Where appropriate events/activities may be postponed or cancelled. We will contact all participants by email or phone to advise them of the decisions that we have made. Messages will also be posted on our website and social media channels.   

If you are unsure if your event is taking place in the future, or have any questions, please call your local fundraising team during office hours. 

Our fundraising teams are working tirelessly to develop and launch a range of virtual fundraising initiatives that will enable people to continue to safely support CHSW in the coming months – please keep an eye on our website and social media pages for more details.  

The vast majority of our fundraising and administrative staff have been working from home in line with government guidelines, it is vital that we maintain a healthy workforce to ensure the continued running of our organisation. Our cloud-based IT systems mean that we can continue to conduct all of our work from home during this time.  

For some of our teams, ‘lockdown’ has meant that their normal workloads have severely diminished and for that reason, a percentage of our workforce who fall into this category have been furloughed under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. 

Any access to our hospice sites by staff during this time is on completion of a successful pre-visit assessment to ensure that no symptoms are present, and that the individual has not been in contact with anyone who is/ may be symptomatic.  

Good hygiene is as always paramount on our hospice sites.   

Call your local fundraising team 

Our Shops  

Sadly all of our CHSW shops are closed and will remain so until further notice. All shop staff have been furloughed under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Sadly, therefore no income is being received from this source.

While we very much appreciate the generosity of those who donate goods to our hospice shops each year, we do ask that supporters do not drop donated goods to our hospice shops or hospice sites during this time. Thank you for your co-operation with this. 

Our Volunteers  

We are aware of the passion and dedication that many hundreds of volunteers consistently demonstrate in support for CHSW. However, we would ask that all of our volunteers look after themselves and their families as a first priority.   

We understand that many of our volunteers may fall into the vulnerable categories outlined by Public Health England. Please ensure you are taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself during this time, your health and wellbeing are very important to us.  

We would like to thank our volunteers for their wonderful ongoing support and we hope to see you all again soon.