AFTER the Covid pandemic forced Francis House Children’s Hospice to cancel its popular open days, the hospice is once again opening its doors to members of the public.
For the first time in two years, staff at the Manchester hospice are looking forward to welcoming supporters on November 5, to see for themselves how their donations help support hundreds of families.
When Francis House opened in 1991, it was only the fifth children’s hospice to be built in the UK, and the only one to the west of the Pennines and north of Birmingham.
As other hospices opened, the catchment area of the hospice reduced in size; however, the last two years have seen a reduction in service in many children’s hospices and statutory services.
David Ireland, chief executive officer of Francis House Children’s Hospice, explains the impact on vulnerable children and their families:
“Statutory provision of respite care is minimal in many cases. As a consequence, young people and their families are travelling considerable distances once again to use our services.
“We support more than six hundred families providing care to children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. The support that Francis House provides has always been additional to any statutory support, and we are able to offer care in this way thanks to the generosity of thousands of people around the North West who donate money, fundraise, give their time, and remember us in their Wills.
“We have adapted and developed care to give the best possible support to the families struggling to keep their sick children safe. One of the ways we have achieved this is through the development of our Homecare team.
“As we actively recruit more nurses, we will endeavour to expand the team to give more home support. Our aim is eventually to be able to offer support in providing end-of-life care in the young person’s home if that is what the family choose.
“Our eagerness to achieve this is hampered by the national shortage of registered nurses, but to have additional nurses on the team also means increasing our income.
“We are so grateful to all our loyal and committed followers who have helped us to keep Francis House operating over the last two years.
“It has been a great sadness that we have not been able to hold our open days during the pandemic, and so we are really pleased to announce that our first public open day post-COVID. We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to see for themselves the incredible facilities at Francis House and how their donations help support hundreds of children and families.”
It costs £4.7 million to run Francis House with the majority of income raised through charitable donations. The Francis House open day takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 5. Members of the care team will be on hand to guide visitors behind the scenes on informative tours of the hospice at 390 Parrswood Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 5NA.
Refreshments and merchandise will also be available to purchase. No children or families will be in residence during the open day. For more information call 0161 443 2200 or visit https://www.francishouse.org.u