As BAWA Healthcare and Leisure donated £1,000 to sponsor a nurse we were invited along to the open day on 21st May 2018.

After the loss of two children, and dealing with the travelling to existing children’s hospices, Eddie Farwell MBE had a vision to get a hospice into the South West. Lord Wraxall put Charlton farm up for sale, part of the Tyntesfield estate and this was to become the new venue for the South West hospice = children’s hospice SOUTH WEST, allowing Eddie to continue his plan for the South West.

There are now three hospices in operation; Little Bridge House in Devon, Charlton Farm in Somerset and Little Harbour in Cornwall, caring for over 500 families across the South West.

The care offered is wide ranging; respite and short breaks, palliative care for the whole family, a sibling service for brothers and sisters, emergency support, end of life care and a bereavement service for as long as is needed.  They welcome referrals from anyone for a stay.

For more than 25 years Children's Hospice South West has been caring for children with life-threatening conditions by providing children's hospice and professional family support services. They are dedicated to making the most of short and precious lives through the provision of the best possible hospice care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. The care offered at each of the three hospices is not just about medical and nursing support for sick children but enriching lives of the children and their whole family.

BAWA Healthcare and Leisure were invited to visit Charlton Farm children’s hospice SOUTH WEST. This was after a donation of £1,000 given by BAWA to sponsor a nurse.

If we were expecting a sad place it was not what we found. The building was sympathetic with the landscape and certainly built with every need of the children, and their families. Some of the building was off bounds due to some very poorly children staying, allowing the children and their families’ peace and privacy; this was dealt with, with much sympathy and tremendous compassion.

The whole place had a serenity about it, which certainly encompassed the word “rest-bite”. Their stay allows them to wind down, have meals prepared, spend time as a family, and catch up on sleep, all with the knowledge of complete support of the staff. Once the children trust the staff the parents may feel able to leave the children in their care, whilst they take a break. Siblings have days out, or arts and craft sessions. There are quiet family lounges, all with televisions, computers etc. It seems that the word No or can’t does not exist at Charlton Farm, the needs of all staying are catered for with a smile, a hug, with compassion.

The families are then able to build precious memories which they will hold dear in the future, without many of the everyday worries and decisions. This support and contact continues as long as the families need.

The hospice has open days which occur on the third Monday of the month, by invitation. They rely on the support of volunteers and donations to exist, to tend the gardens, work in the kitchen’s, they have received donations from companies for the hospice, for example trees for the orchard were donated and planted, soft play equipment purchased, installed and maintained. A Narnia garden was also supplied after it was taken down at the Chelsea Flower festival.

If you are able to support  please contact your local hospice or visit www.chsw.org.uk/volunteer follow on facebook, twitter or Instagram to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and events or go to enquiries@chsw.org.uk. Thank you to Charlton House for inviting us along.