An interesting part of charity work is that there is no holiday season. There is no break. Just as life goes on, so does the demand for support, the submission of grant applications, the assessments and the best part of all, giving the grant money away to worthy causes. August has been a very busy month thus far. I hope you enjoy reading the latest blog post.
Martha Trust Visit on 1st August, 2018
I visited the Martha Trust in Hastings to assess a grant application for a mobile care personal monitoring software system.
Martha Trust is a registered charity, started in 1987, to provide residential care, respite care and day care for adults with profound physical and multiple learning disabilities.
The Martha Trust has a campus in Hastings and another at Deal which has two residential homes that house up to 33 adults with profound physical and multiple learning disabilities, the result of congenital and post-natal disorders that include underdeveloped brain, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, curvature of the spine, displaced hips, breathing difficulties, and brittle bones.
I met Barry O’Sullivan, Trusts and Major Donations Officer and Julie Gyler, Director of Operations & Marketing. Julie gave me a tour of the residential Home, including some excellent resident facilities such as Eye Gaze technology and a swimming pool.
Julie explained the difference the new software would make to the care of the residents. Carers and nurses would be able to give more time to the residents as there would no longer be a need to spend hours writing up notes or have long meetings about patients, as their details would be kept on the new software programme. All medication given would be recorded and any patient difficulties, such as residents experiencing recent fits, would be available to all carers. The system will also assist with staff management and salaries as each member of staff will be required to log into the system when they arrive at work.
At a relatively low overall cost of £16,595, I found it difficult to believe that a large number of care homes do not already have this type of system in place.
St Wilfrid’s Hospice visit on 1st August 2018
Next on my travels was a visit to St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne to assess a grant application towards an extension to their “Hospice at Home” service, which requires extra occupational therapists.
The Charity covers a population of 235,000 people in Eastbourne, Pevensey, Seaford, Heathfield, and Uckfield. In 2017, the hospice supported 1,280 people through their inpatient Unit, “Hospice at Home” service, Wellbeing and Therapy team and a 24/7 Nurse Line, which took over 11,000 calls.
I met John Summers Donor, Development Manager, and Mark Bond, Trusts and Grants Fundraiser. John gave me a tour of the Hospice, which was one of the most modern and well thought-out Hospices that I have visited. The Hospice seemed to be very much part of local community in Eastbourne and their Coffee Shop, which is open to everybody was very busy.
John explained that the area the Hospice covers is seeing ever-increasing need due to the high population of elderly people in their region. The Hospice care staff are concerned about the effects of isolation in places such as Uckfield, which are not close to the actual Hospice. The extension to the “Hospice at Home” service would mean that people with a life limiting illness would receive more visits from the Hospice staff and volunteers. John explained that it was important for staff to see patients and provide medical assistance and therapies, but equally important were the volunteers who could check on patients. The Hospital Saturday Fund’s grant would be used to train these volunteers to support the work of the occupational therapists. Last year the programme assisted 968 patients and made over 4,000 home visits.
Greenfingers Charity Visit on 9th August 2018
As a gardener and outdoorsman, I was keen to learn about a grant application from Richard House Children’s Hospice in London. The application was for Greenfingers Charity to create a new garden for the children to use.
Greenfingers Charity believes that time spent outdoors, away from the bedside, can offer children and families under considerable stress a vital opportunity to embrace the benefits of being in the fresh air and engaging with the natural environment. The charity is committed to creating specially designed, stimulating garden spaces that can bring many benefits to children with life-limiting conditions.
Whilst many people may take for granted the simple pleasure of being able to enjoy a garden, for these children, their siblings and their families, the chance to spend time together outdoors and away from the bedside is precious. A Greenfingers Charity garden can be many things – an area for play, exploration, therapy, reflection, relaxation and often quite simply a space where children who stay in hospices, can spend time together with their friends, family and carers, in a safe and protective environment
Richard House Children’s Hospice supports children and their families in East London to lead as positive and happy a life as possible when dealing with a life-limiting health condition.
The Hospice was founded by our Life-President Anthea Hare, who was inspired by both her experience as a paediatric nurse at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, and through helping her parents to look after her severely autistic brother Richard, who died as a young man. Richard House Hospice opened in Beckton in November 2000. It was the capital’s first children’s hospice. The Charity supports around 300 families from Newham, Barking, Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Redbridge, Haringey, Islington, Ilford, Camden and South Essex.
Beckton in east London is one of the most socio-economically deprived areas of Britain with a widely ethnically diverse community. The Charity has in-patient rooms for four children, but the new Chief Executive is putting forward plans to enlarge the in-patient unit and to add “at-home” assistance.
I met Linda Petrons, Head of Fundraising, Greenfingers and Sam Armour, Head of Trusts and Project Management, Richard House, who gave me a tour of the hospice and the site of the new garden. The Hospice was well thought out with a
number of different facilities for the children. The garden itself was much larger than I had expected at 2.5 hectares and backed onto the children’s bedrooms. Sam explained that the phase 1 of the project would cost £56,000, but the Charity had already collected £10,000 and had a corporate sponsor who had pledged another £10,000.
The Garden designer is Andrew Fisher-Tomlin, who trained as a horticulturist and founded the company Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer in 1991. His design approach focuses on creative solutions and sound horticultural practice. This has been recognised not just by private clients for residential gardens in London, but also larger infrastructure organisations, leading to commissions that include advising on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and designing for the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
As well as being a registered member and Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers, Andrew is a Chartered Horticulturist with the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. He also serves as an Ambassador to Streetscape, a landscape apprenticeship social enterprise based in Lambeth, Bowel Disease UK, the Landscape Show and the Australian Garden Show, Sydney and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.
I was impressed with this project, which is a great example of a collaboration between two charities. Clearly, the garden will make a huge difference to the quality of life of the children that are in Richard House.