Forget Me Not Children's Hospice

VISIT BY MEMBERS OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF WAKEFIELD ON 11th NOVEMBER 2011

 

External 2This was an opportunity to view the premises prior to them opening for the first children early in 2012. It was well worth taking the trouble of driving to Huddersfield.

 

HydrotherapyAfter coffee we split into two groups. The first room we saw contained the HYDROTHERAPY POOL. Here children are able to sense weightlessness through the use of a ceiling mounted harness. The underwater lights change colour and jacuzzi effects can be created in the water.

 

We were then shown the SENSORY ROOM where magical lighting effects and the installation of a water bed will add life and fun and create a relaxing space for the children. It did not lend itself to photography, so there is no image here.

 

Teenage roomThe next port of call was the TEENAGE ROOM which will generally be off-bounds for adults. Here we saw a mural covering the whole of one wall created by Tom Shepherd, the 17 year old twin brother of Russell Shepherd whose problems inspired the launch of the charity. This room will be used to show films on a large screen and there will be a large television. Both of these will aid the visually impaired. There will also be computer games and other kit suitable for this age group.

 

Music roomOur tour then took us to the soundproofed MUSIC THERAPY ROOM where sensors will allow music to be made just by blinking and where we saw a foot piano.

 

On we went to the PLAY THERAPY ROOM where treatment can be provided without the children realising it. Here we saw a computer with special "mouses" for use by the disabled and a special cap which allows children without the use of other limbs to create talking caricatures of themselves. This is often the first time that their families have heard their children "speak" to them; a very moving experience to witness.

 

Corridor of CelebrationFrom here we went to the bedroom area via the CORRIDOR OF CELEBRATION. Here there is a wall of coloured glass blocks with the enclosed REFLECTION GARDEN on the other side. This serves both a therapeutic and practical purpose as individuals and organisations are invited to sponsor individual blocks and place an uplifting message on them.

 

BathroomIn the first BEDROOM SUITE we saw a hoist which not only covers every square inch of the bathroom but can then swing into the bedroom to collect a child from the bed. In another bathroom we saw a device for air drying the body to avoid the use of towels in appropriate cases.

 

Reflextion gardenAlmost to the end of our tour now and we were shown the REFLECTION OR PRAYER ROOM. Various religious texts will be placed here and there are discrete facilities for washing. This room gives access to the REFLECTION GARDEN mentioned earlier.

Outside play area

The trust is concerned about the wellbeing and care of parents and siblings too and this extends to having carefully thought about facilities for them following the death of a child. They have therefore created the FORGET ME NOT SUITE which is a self-contained apartment with a temperature controlled room for their loved one. Here they can have time to say goodbye in a dignified and calm way.

 

Fundraising started twelve years ago and one year ago the HOSPICE AT HOME SERVICE was started. This will continue even after the hospice has opened its doors.

 

The facility is intended to give respite care and is not a copy of an adult hospice for children. Most of the help for families will be delivered by day care. There will initially be four bedroom suites, later to be eight and possibly more in the future.

 

Area for future expansionIt is an oft repeated adage that it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good and the trustees of the hospice have found this to be true. We were told that because of the state of the economy they have only had to spend 2.5M when they originally expected to have to spend 3.5. In addition to this much of their furnishing and equipment has been donated by corporate and other bodies in a very generous way.

 

We wish them well for the future.

Forget me not Children's Hospice website........