LOCAL children’s hospice charity Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is going virtual to ensure they can still support children with life-limiting conditions, and their families, in every way they can during this uncertain time.
Shooting Star Children’s Hospices provides care and support for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, across Surrey and London. The local charity is a lifeline to over 700 families and the demand for their care service is forever increasing.
Due to the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, the charity has had to make the difficult decision to close one of their hospices, and prioritise those in most need, only providing end-of-life care and emergency respite at their Guildford-based hospice, Christopher’s. In order to remain connected and continue to support as many families as possible, this week marks the launch of the charity’s virtual hospice which includes virtual groups held via Zoom, an online ‘hub’ on their website full of activities and resources, and a closed Facebook group giving parents somewhere to socialise and share advice during this challenging time.
Living with a child who has a life-limiting condition can be isolating and lonely, feelings which are only intensified during the current climate. The charity hopes that by hosting their popular groups virtually and offering more online support, it will benefit families who can’t currently leave their homes and visit the hospice.
Anne Bridgman, Head of Care at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices Guildford hospice, Christopher’s said:
“Our family groups are always so well received and attended. They provide an outlet for supported children, parents, siblings and grandparents and enable them to spend time with others in similar circumstances, socialising in a safe environment. The current crisis means that families who are already very vulnerable could be feeling even more isolated, so we hope by hosting these groups online, and setting up a closed Facebook group, it will give the families we support the opportunity to socialise with one another, discuss any anxieties and also have some fun.”
Launching this week is the hospices’ much-loved youth group in a new virtual format, giving supported teenagers the opportunity to meet up with their Youth Club friends for some fun activities whilst having the chance to talk in a safe environment about any anxieties they may have during this time of uncertainty. Later this week Chill and Chat will be held – a coffee morning where families meet up via Zoom to join some of the hospices’ care team and other supported families.
It’s not just the vital care services that Shooting Star Children’s Hospices are adapting. The charity is facing severe financial losses due to COVID-19 and so is urging the community to continue to support them with an online donation or by fundraising at home. To support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, please donate to their coronavirus emergency appeal by visiting shootingstar.org.uk/crisisappeal or sign up to their Virtual Sunrise Walk at shootingstar.org.uk/event/virtual-sunrise-walk