Success Stories

Richard House: Creating positive memories

THE welcoming environment at Richard House Children’s Hospice has been further enhanced thanks to a £45,000 donation from Wooden Spoon, which financed an all-weather garden area and children’s playground.

Replacing an uneven and impractical space, the outdoor overhaul has seen the garden become a sought-after retreat for relatives and staff and a source of smiles for sick children and their siblings.

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Wooden Spoon has also funded the modernisation of the hospice’s Rainbow Suite – a bereavement room used by families following the death of their child – and the creation of a quiet room.

It is an investment that enables Richard House to continue to support parents and loved ones should the worst happen, according to clinical services manager Nick Oorloff.

“It is a healthy philosophy, whether you are sick or not, to live for today and create positive memories for tomorrow and we focus very much on the living at Richard House,” he said. “But we are also aware – very aware – of dying and we’re able to support families at the lead up to and beyond a child’s death.

“Being able to do so is a very honouring role and a large part of that is about giving a family time, space and privacy to be able to do what they need to do in order to take on the passing of their child.

“The Rainbow Suite allows us to give a family the opportunity to be supported following their child’s death and for them to be able to come and visit their child at any time they like.

“A lot of other environments just don’t allow for that,” he added. “Hospitals are busy places with bin lids being slammed and lots of people around and that can seem like an intrusive place for a child to die. A hospice tries harder to control the environment and to give a family as much choice as possible around the passing of their child.”

Contrary to common perceptions of what daily life is like at a children’s hospice, Nick insists that there are only “small windows of great sadness” and that the highs far outstrip the lows.

“We try to focus on enjoying life,” he concluded. “There is a lot of enjoyment here and it is rewarding to see what impact that has on the children and families.

“Whatever role you are in, whatever you do, you want to know that it has an impact or results in something.”

For Wooden Spoon supporters, the smiles on the faces of those enjoying Richard House’s playground are testament to the impact their contributions have helped to create.

For more information about Richard House Children’s Hospice services, visit their website.