21 Years of Care

Over the last 21 years Children's Hospice has cared for many children and their families. Help us continue to be always there for the babies and children that need us.

My name is Grace Stewart, I'm the Head of Children's Services at NI Hospice and I have been part of Children's Hospice for 21 years.

In fact I was one of the nurses on the very first night shift all those years ago - I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was nerve wracking, exciting and humbling, to be part of the very first and only Children's Hospice in Northern Ireland.

Having a child with a complex and life-limiting health condition requires a high level of care all the time, there is no let up and every single day has challenges – a child may have a lovely morning then by lunchtime they find themselves in an ambulance heading back to hospital because their condition worsened within hours.

The parents we support live in a constant state of alert – it is exhausting and if there are other children in the family then parents need more energy and can also feel guilty for the time they focus on their very sick son or daughter. It’s a constant barrage on their emotional and physical wellbeing and can be extremely isolating.

It’s hard for me to explain all the different parts of our work and the difference that I know we have made over the last 21 years – which is why we asked some of the children and families we’ve helped to tell their stories. I would really urge you to take a few minutes to read their words – I think it’s important that their voices are heard – it’s not a headline-grabbing news story but they are genuine, meaningful and reflect the experiences of hundreds and hundreds of families across Northern Ireland.

If you are in a position to help us – first of all thank you! And to let you know that every donation makes a difference I want to share some of the costs that we face in Children’s Hospice. It costs £21.25 for only one set of scrubs for a nurse and a session in our hydrotherapy pool, combining physio and play costs £66.34.  It costs £155.21 for a specialist mattress for our children’s special beds.

The last 21 years have gone by so fast, but I know I made a real difference and every time we receive a donation from kind people across Northern Ireland – no matter what the amount – it makes a real difference too.

Thank you for your generosity and support. It might feel like a small thing to you to donate, but when there are sad days at Hospice knowing that we have people like you supporting our work, well it’s just an amazing feeling. Thank you!

Grace Stewart

Head of Children’s Services

Read our Summer Appeal stories here - and find out more about how you can help.