Monthly briefing March 2024

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Authored by Children’s Hospice South West.

How your business could help local families make the most of short and precious lives

Many of the 500+ families who use Children’s Hospice South West’s (CHSW) 3 hospices across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset consider them to be a “home from home”, which is exactly what its co-founders, Eddie Farwell and his late wife Jill, were aiming to create when they set up CHSW more than 30 years ago.

CHSW offers a range of bespoke care and support services to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The charity remains steadfast to its original aim of helping to make the most of short and precious lives.

The charity offers resilience stays and day visits which provide the physical and emotional support needed for all family members navigating the 24/7 responsibilities of caring for a child with complex needs.

Support also comes in the shape of a dedicated Sibling Support team. Designed to provide brothers and sisters with someone to confide in and offer emotional support. The team also arrange activities for the siblings to enjoy with each other, often a time when friendships are made between children  with similar family circumstances. 

CHSW’s three hospices are not sad places, they are homely environments, full of laughter where the focus is very much on families having fun and making precious memories.

End of life care and bereavement support is a crucial element of the charity’s provision. Ensuring that wishes are met and providing practical and emotional support to help families to navigate these difficult times. CHSW’s support for a family doesn’t end when a child dies, the bereavement team stay in regular contact providing ongoing support for as long as families want or need it.

Offering these services free of charge, 365 days a year costs CHSW around £12 million each year, the majority of which comes from income raised through fundraising activities and individual donations.

“Being able to offer this help free of charge means that cost will never be an additional burden to families already struggling to cope.” explains Hayley Wallbank, Regional Partnerships Fundraiser at CHSW.

CHSW is extremely fortunate to have a region-wide network of staff and supporters all aiming to help families make the most of the short and precious lives of their children.   

Hayley works with businesses that support the charity and says; “We fully appreciate just how difficult it is for some businesses to trade profitably and efficiently in 2024.  Materials, staff, operational costs and logistical costs have significantly increased, resulting in the need to ensure that all company resources and activities are optimised and prioritised.”

So how and why are businesses still able to support CHSW at this time?

Hayley explains how charity partnerships benefit all those involved;

“As a regional charity, we partner with businesses of all sizes, from family run firms to national brands, and each gets the same personal relationship and support from their local Fundraiser. It’s really important that we share values and commitment with our partners alongside mutual trust and respect.

“By partnering with us, businesses are not only helping to raise awareness and vital funds to help local families, and boosting their employee morale and company profile, but they are also benefitting from becoming part of the CHSW family.

Recruitment specialists Girling Jones, based in Exeter, have supported CHSW since 2012 and Simon Girling, Managing Director, explains why they continue to support CHSW;

“The team love supporting CHSW. Their regular challenges and events are part of the culture here at Girling Jones and play an important part in our team building and office morale. Also, as a South West based business, who better to support?”

Hayley shares the benefits for a business in partnering with the charity;

“In return for your business’ support we commit to sharing regular updates and news about your support of CHSW with our network of 2000 business supporters across the region, on digital and social platforms as well as with traditional media outlets. In doing this, we ensure that your support of CHSW is communicated locally, regionally, nationally and to new audiences further afield; helping to raise awareness of your commitment to our cause and your local community.

“It’s wonderful that our business partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, we are flexible in being able to work with businesses in whichever ways suit them best. We have a range of opportunities and initiatives to suit all and we are always available to help you on your supporter journey.

An entry point for many of our business supporters is to join our Business Club which is a wonderfully inspiring community of like-minded business supporters who are keen to show their active support of the charity.  In 2024 our Business Club will be running 10 networking events where delegates can introduce their business, meet our team, hear from a family or care team member as well as become inspired by a fellow business supporter speaking about their partnership journey with CHSW.”

To find out more about the various ways your business could benefit from a partnership with CHSW including through its Business Club click here or contact CHSW Regional Partnerships Fundraiser Hayley Wallbank.

Photo 1: Colleagues from Gilbert Stephens Solicitors in Exeter have recently joined CHSW’s Business Club.

Photo 2: Simon Girling, Managing Director of Girling Jones with Henrietta Olsson, Area Fundraiser for CHSW at Girling Jones’ annual golf day supporting CHSW.