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Support ‘vital’ children’s hospice charity celebrating 30 years this month

Eddie and Jill Farwell launched a £1miilion appeal to build the South West’s first children’s hospice in May 1991

The Chief Executive of Children Hospice South West (CHSW) is calling on people to continue to support ‘vital’ local hospice care for children and families.

Eddie Farwell, who co-founded CHSW with his wife Jill 30 years ago this month, said lifeline support for families is as important in 2021 as it was in 1991.Eddie and Jill’s two eldest children Katie and Tom inspired the creation of Children's Hospice South West

“The need for children’s hospices will never go away and it has never been more vital given how much these families have had to endure during the pandemic,” said Mr Farwell, whose two eldest children Katie and Tom both had life-limiting illnesses and died before adulthood. 

“In 1991, my wife Jill and I experienced the need to provide high quality care in a home from home setting in the South West; a place where the whole family could stay together and recharge their batteries and be more able to continue their caring role at home. 

Thirty years later, this need is as relevant and important today as it was then.

In the last 30 years, CHSW has supported more than 2,000 families at its three children’s hospices – Little Bridge House in North Devon, Charlton Farm in North Somerset, and in Little Harbour Cornwall – care that has continued throughout the pandemic. 

In the first four months of 2021, the charity was able to provide 737 Covid-safe day and overnight stays in its hospices. Care teams also made 447 visits to families in their own homes, as well as more than 2,441 virtual contacts with families.

Mr Farwell said lots had changed since he and his wife launched their £1miilion appeal to build the South West’s first children’s hospice in May 1991, but the charity’s ethos to put caring for families at the centre of everything it does remained the same.

Eddie Farwell and his late wife Jill founded Children's Hospice South West in 1991“We are providing a specialist medical service and it’s about keeping families together and accompanying them on an often long, long journey in many, many cases,” he said.

“Many more children are living with significant levels of disability and the technology that has developed to support them means that the care we provide is not only more needed, but it becomes more technical. The numbers have grown tremendously, the complexity has grown tremendously, and consequently it is a very expensive service to run.”

CHSW needs around £11m a year to run its hospices, and around 85 per cent is raised through voluntary donations.

“It has been a tremendous journey and so many children and families have been helped along the way, work that would not have been possible without the continued generosity of ordinary men, women, boys and girls in communities around the South West, and the love that they exude for children and families where the child is going to die before adulthood,” said Mr Farwell.

It shows you what the power of people coming together can achieve.

"And while we are aware of the economic impact of this wretched pandemic and its long-term effects on our community, we hope people will do whatever they can to stand with us in 2021 and continue to help us make the most of short and precious lives.”

Find out how you can support CHSW and make a difference

How it all began. Thirty years of Children's Hospice South West

How it all began. Thirty years of Children's Hospice South West