Chestnut Tree House is a children’s hospice service for East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. Each year, they look after hundreds of local children with life-shortening conditions and their siblings and families, giving them the chance to live life to the full – for as much time as they have together.
Chestnut Tree House offers children and families specialist short breaks at the hospice as well as care in their own homes, allowing parents and carers to take a well-earned break from the round-the-clock responsibilities of caring for a sick child. This might mean a few hours uninterrupted sleep, a warm bath, or time to spend with their other children.
They also offer support to the entire family following diagnosis and through the whole disease process. From advice and information through to play therapy and counselling, our Care Team is there with a helping hand whenever and wherever it is needed.
And, when the time comes, their team is there to support the whole family with specialist medical care and bereavement support at the end of the child’s life, giving them the opportunity to say goodbye in their own time and way, wherever that might be.
Chestnut Tree House’s care really is invaluable to the families they look after and they make no charge for this care. However, it costs over £3.5 million each year to provide all their care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes, yet they receive less than 7% central government funding so rely heavily on the support of our local community.
In December 2015 Chestnut Tree House was thrilled to receive a donation of £2,842.80 from the Foundation. This money was spent on new equipment and toys for their Sensory Room, including a Lights and Music Dome, a spotty Spinner Ball and squishy ‘light up’ Squiggle Balls. Since 2007, the Foundation has provided Chestnut Tree House with £20,415 in grants to help them provide their vital services.
The Sensory room is an ideal space for children of all abilities. Some children with very limited mobility are able to receive stimulation from lights and sound. The waterbed allows for a supportive surface which is able to mould to their shape and size. They are also able to make things work with a very small movement which can bring delight and excitement. The child or young person may never have experienced this ability before.
The ability to switch on different elements in the room at different times can create a restful place as well. Just switching to low lights and using the bubble tubes can create a quiet space where the child or young person can feel warm relaxed and under-stimulated. This may be helpful if a child is unable to calm themselves due to their condition.
Those children with more abilities are appreciate both the stimulation and the comfort of the room. All the children we support are able to have fun in the room, which can be used to jump around safely, or sit quietly with staff to have a time of music, stories or games.