BearHugs visit to Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice
I hope you are all well and enjoyed your bank holiday weekend.
Here at BearHugs, we are always on the lookout for lovely new organisations to partner up with for our 1:50 Hug Donation Scheme and our brilliant Hug Donation Assistant, Georgina, has been working away behind the scenes to start a new partnership with Sheffield-based Bluebell Wood children's hospice.
Myself and Faye had the absolute honour of visiting Bluebell Wood hospice last Friday and I just wanted to tell you all about it.
From a personal perspective, I have been incredibly fortunate to have had minimal experience with visiting hospices and hospitals so I wasn't sure what to expect when we drove up on Friday. We had had a little look on their website and so knew a few bits of information such as
Bluebell Wood look after and house children and their families from the age of birth right up to 25 years old. They provide a calm and supportive, beautiful space for children who suffer with long term critical health conditions and life shortening conditions.
It costs £4million to keep Bluebell Wood hospice open each year and only 10% of that is government funded, the rest is raised by their phenomenal fundraising team and also donated by their incredibly generous patrons.
Once we arrived we met Emma, the lovely lady who Georgina has been in touch with to organise our partnership, and her wonderful staff member Diane (who is an absolute inspiration of a woman and has been working at Bluebell Wood for 9 years!). Both ladies told us a lot about the activities, services and opportunities Bluebell Wood provide both the children and their siblings, family and even friends.
Something that really became clear was how thoughtful the staff were, they had thought of everything, from providing sensory therapy and comfort in the form of music, to having bright and colourful play areas, craft rooms and a cinema for creating the most wonderful and happy space.
Bluebell Wood hospice can house up to 6 children and their families at one time, providing each child with their own private room and also accommodation for families and siblings. At each end of the building they also have a palliative care self-contained flat for families who's children have sadly passed away.
Visiting these flats really brought home the kind of sensitive and thoughtful work that the staff at Bluebell Wood really do. They had thought of everything from allowing the parents to have their own entrance to the building so that they don't have to interact with other families and children if they do not want too. Through to having made the flats cosy but minimal so that families can (and are encouraged) to bring their own home comforts with them.
One of the things that Diane does with the families of children who are sadly coming to the end of their lives, is to create moulds and casts of the children's hands and feet so that the families have these to take away with them once their child has passed as a way of remembering them. It was simultaneously the most beautiful and most heartbreaking thing to see.
Bluebell Wood was and will probably always remain, one of the happiest places I have visited, the hospice itself, the care and love provided by the staff and the general feeling one if left with is that of support, love and happiness and I found that overwhelmingly uplifting and inspirational.
I think I can say, for both Faye and myself, that we are incredibly excited to be able to donate BearHugs boxes to Bluebell Wood. To be able to bring an extra little smile to the faces of such poorly children and their families is such an honour and I am can't wait for us to start sending them out. Hopefully we may even get to hand deliver them ourselves a monthly basis!
Ps if you would like to find out more about Bluebell Wood hospice then here is their website www.bluebellwood.org