Stirling Ackroyd’s Steven Milicia meets Anne Carey, Head of Corporate Engagement at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, to learn more about how our 20-year relationship has supported the needs of children and families in need since 2011.
How did Shooting Star Children’s Hospices begin?
Our story began as two separate children’s hospice charities. CHASE was founded in 1994 and The Shooting Star Trust founded in 1995, and in April 2011, the year that Stirling Ackroyd reached out to help us first, these two charities merged to become Shooting Star Chase. With our two purpose-built hospices, Christopher’s in Guildford and Shooting Star House in Hampton, we are able to provide vital care for more children and families across West London and Surrey.
How many children do you support?
Today, we have grown and advanced our services and have become a leading children’s hospice charity supporting over 700 children, and their families, across Surrey and West London, 365 days a year.
Stirking Ackroyd is officially Shooting Star Children’s Hospices longest standing corporate partner, and over the past two decades has raised and donated a staggering £290,000 – a combination of corporate giving and staff fundraising efforts.
How has Stirling Ackroyd supported recently?
The big fundraiser from last year was the team 2022 Snowdon Sunrise Trek expedition – an amazing initiative that raised just under £20,000,and its efforts like this that keep us going! The company’s fundraising has really revitalised in the last 12 months, and Stirling Ackroyd’s staff are all set to cycle a 142 miles around 32 branches in June. We wish them all the very best of luck, and hope that they reach their target of £6,000.
How much does it cost to run Shooting Star Children’s Hospices?
We need £8.8 million annually to offer the vital care and services that we do, with only 11% coming from central government funding. I think people are surprised that we get less than adult hospices. The children’s hospice sector was established after the adult hospice movement, and so the model is slightly different. There is a perception that children’s charities are easy to raise money for, and there is a degree of truth to that, however there are a large number of incredibly worthwhile children’s charities out there so actually fundraising the money we need to operate is really challenging – that is why long term support, like that offered by Stirling Ackroyd, really matters.
What is the personal impact of the funds that we raise?
Living with a child who has a life-limiting condition massively affects the financial position of a family. Typically, one parent has to give up work, there are extensive hospital appointments, taxi’s to get there, specialist equipment needed for home, electricity demands rise and families, already incredibly challenged, become really, really stretched. That is why our fundraising is very important as we can positively impact the lives of the children we care for and the families that support them as they make ready for a child’s end of life..
How long do you need to offer families support?
End-of-life care can be just a couple of days or for an extended period. We offer clinical and holistic end of life support to families both at our hospice and the family home through our Community Nursing team, dependant on what the family wants. We also provide families bereavement support for up to three years. Our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House is dedicated to offering a comprehensive range of therapies and specialist clinics for the whole family. Therapies include counselling, music, drama, and art therapy, complementary therapies, and family support sessions. This is so important as when a child dies inevitably the package of care that existed around that child disappears. Suddenly you’re a parent of a life limited child and then suddenly, what are you? That’s a massive transition that we help parents and families manage.
Making Beautiful memories really matters, right?
We work really hard on memory making, an area of support that our team finds one of the most beautiful parts of their job. We only have one chance to get things right once for families.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPPORT SHOOTING STAR HOSPICE?
£25 could pay for a child’s name to be engraved on a star or leaf to hang on the memory trees in our bereavement gardens, giving families somewhere to visit and remember.
£35 could pay for hand and foot casts and a memory box, giving families somewhere to keep and treasure precious moments and memories.
£50 could fund the annual servicing costs of a cold blanket ensuring it is always available for families who want to say goodbye in their own time after their child has died.
£120 could pay for an hour of support from our specialist Symptom Management team to help manage and ease a child’s symptoms.
£1,000 covers the cost of the Family Support Line for one week so that we can be ready to answer any question and provide guidance to our 700 families.
£1,500 could fund one night of emergency respite care.
£2,000 could cover the cost of heating the hydrotherapy pool for three months. Our hydrotherapy pools are a safe space for families to create special memories. The pool also provides physical benefits helping muscle tone and strength, enabling mobility not possible out of the water.
£5,000 could pay for three months pre-bereavement support for a family, providing essential guidance on pain management, family and sibling support and anticipatory grief.
£7,000 would pay for our annual Memory Days for bereaved families, where families can visit the hospice and celebrate the life of their child with other bereaved families.
£8,400 would pay for a bed at the hospice for one week for respite of step down care.
Hospice care offers a wide range of services. People think of a children’s hospice as, a sad place, and sad things do happen here, but it’s a bright and sunny place. We have swings out in the garden, like any playground, and children do enjoy their time here.
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