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Children’s Hospice South West’s response to coronavirus

Last update issued on: 7 January 2021

How you can help us at this time 

As we arrive into a new year, I wanted to once again extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who continues to support CHSW through these most uncertain times.   

Children and families that we support continue to face many great additional challenges and as we find ourselves in lockdown once more, fear and isolation once again become part of daily life. We continue to support these families through your generosity in whatever way we can, whether that be in our hospices where appropriate, in families’ own homes or virtually.

Like all charities at the moment, face to face fundraising has ceased and we continue to be challenged where income streams in many areas have dried up .At the moment we are confident about the future but are aware that  our ability to raise money is limited due to the situation in which the country finds itself. We know, however, that you will ensure that we can continue to deliver the support services to our children and families.

So we head into our 30th Anniversary knowing  that it will continue to be a challenge to raise the necessary funds to continue to support families from across the South West and would ask you to support us if you are able by joining one of our virtual events to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, making a donation or playing our lottery  and stand with families so that together we can continue to make the most of short and precious lives across the South West.  

Thank you.  

Eddie Farwell 

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 the 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're 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 2020, 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'd 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  

It is with regret that, due to the recent UK Government announcement of a further national lockdown, all of our CHSW shops are now closed until further notice.

While we are shut, we will be unable to receive donations – please do not leave any outside as we won’t be able to process them.

More ways to support us 

•    Reduced opening hours to complete end of day cleaning. There will be full cleaning of the sales floor to include hangers and rails at the end of each day
•    We will be following strict social distancing rules for staff and customers
•    The shop floors will be marked out to help with social distancing
•    Signs will be placed around the shop to remind customers of social distancing
•    Hand sanitising units will be available at entrance and exit points
•    We will limit the number of customers that we will allow into the shop at any one time
•    Signs on the window reminding customers not to enter if they have symptoms of covid-19
•    Card payments only will be accepted
•    Fitting rooms will remain closed
•    All touch points will be cleaned during the day
•    Till screens for protecting both the till operator and customer
•    Donations will be received with minimum or no handling by the staff and will be quarantined before sorting

•   Reduced opening times ensure we have 2 members of staff on duty during opening hours. This will allow us to accept donations safely and monitor the numbers of customers on the shop floor
•    All staff and volunteers have been provided with training on the new ways of working 
•    Relevant PPE will be provided or all shop staff and volunteers
•    New signage ‘back of house’ to remind staff of all hand hygiene and social distancing rules

Are you receiving donations at you shops?

It is with regret that, due to the recent UK Government announcement of a further national lockdown, all of our CHSW shops are now closed until further notice.

While we are closed, we will be unable to receive donations – please do not leave any outside as we won’t be able to process them.

Are you receiving shop donations at your hospices?

Unfortunately we are not currently accepting shop donations at our hospice sites. 

I’ve got donations for the shop but am shielding – can anyone collect them?

Sorry, we are unable to make house collections.

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.