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Charity supporting more families than ever before

TOGETHER for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children, has helped more families than ever before this year, providing vital help and legal support and fundraising for the UK’s children’s hospice and palliative care charities that they rely on.

The charity’s new impact report for 2017/18, launched today (3 October 2018), shows the difference Together for Short Lives has made, including raising and sharing over £1,000,000 for lifeline support for children and families in children’s hospices and palliative care charities, and to kick-start innovative new projects to support seriously ill young people. That’s the equivalent of 37,800 hours of care.

Over the year the charity helped an increasing number of families caring for seriously ill children requiring support and information. Together for Short Lives saw a 31% rise in calls from families and a 52% increase in calls from professionals seeking one-to-one support for their work with seriously ill children. At a time when support and services are being cut, the charity’s helpline remains an invaluable source of emotional support and information.

The report shows that Together for Short Lives has secured policy changes that will directly improve the lives of seriously ill children and their families. This year a campaign led by the charity closed a legal loophole, enabling children under three to claim the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. This has benefited children like Stanley, whose family has been able to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle. If we didn’t have a wheelchair accessible vehicle for Stanley we’d be extremely limited in terms of what we could do. The vehicle helps us get out and about, giving Stanley the quality of life he deserves and helping us make amazing memories” – Emma Murphy (mum to Stanley)

Launching the Impact Report, Andy Fletcher, CEO for Together for Short Lives, said:

“Seriously ill children don’t have time to waste. At a time when services across the UK are experiencing cuts, we are here to fight for families and make sure that no child is ever left behind when it comes to getting vital care and support. This year, thanks to the generous support of our funders, we have made a real difference to these families: campaigning for sustainable children’s palliative care services for all, supporting and empowering families, publishing information for professionals, fundraising for vital services and putting children’s palliative care on the political agenda. We’ve still got a lot to do, but by working closely with our members, supporters and families, we have the best chance of making life better for seriously ill children.”

Highlights from Together for Short Lives’ Impact Report also include:

  • Launching a new optimised website to help families get vital information. The charity has also grown its secure online family space – connecting families with one another and providing a safe space to share their highs and lows with people who “just get it”.
  • Expanding its legal support service in partnership with Law Works and rolling out new advocacy clinics to children’s hospice settings across England and Wales, so that families facing complex legal challenges can access expert support locally.
  • Securing funding for new research so the charity can identify the most up-to-date number of seriously ill children and young people across the UK to help plan, fund and deliver the right services that they need.
  • Helping to transform care and support for young people by setting up an Improving Transitions for Young People Fund, and finding new ways to support families with practical help at home, where they need it most, by developing a digital resource called Together we Can – a complete guide to setting up a family support volunteering service.
  • Supporting thousands of professionals who care for seriously ill children by developing new tools and innovative learning events to improve practice. Over 700 professionals joined the charity’s learning events and 90,000 people visited its information hub.
  • Publishing a new Perinatal Care pathway to help professionals support parents caring for very sick babies.

View Together for Short Lives 2017/18 Impact Report “Together we support, amplify and change, so no child or family is left behind” as an interactive webpage here: http://togetherforshortlives.ouryear.org/ or read the full report here.