• "Volunteering with Demelza gives my days a meaningful purpose"

    by Sophie Batchelor | Dec 05, 2018

    Collette Chesney began volunteering with Demelza this year. She wanted to share her story with you for #InternationalVolunteerDay

    “After becoming a widow back in September 2016, following early retirement back in 2013 with my husband, I found that I now had a lot of time on my hands without that special person by my side. It wasn’t until April 2018 that I felt strong enough to begin to fill my days again, when I decided to email Demelza and found the swift and friendly approach a very positive influence on deciding to apply for a volunteering position.

    Not really an office type of person, I applied to help in the kitchen and housekeeping and I was lucky enough to be accepted and thoroughly enjoy every shift. The people at Demelza are so friendly, the children are magical and the whole place has a lovely ambience.

    After a while, I felt I would also really like to be involved with the children and so I applied to assist the Care team. Again, I was fortunate enough to be accepted. The children are delightful as are the Care team and it is an honour to volunteer with them. I have since been involved in helping at events and involved with a new pilot project for providing practical support in the children’s homes.

    I had never set foot in any hospice before joining Demelza, so I did not quite know how I would feel but I can honestly say I enjoy volunteering there very much. It certainly gives my days a meaningful purpose. My late husband had a very soft spot for Demelza and I think he would be proud.”

    We are so grateful to Collette and the hundreds of other volunteers who support Demelza, who we simply couldn't function without. Our 1,000 volunteers gifted us 158,000 hours of their time, saving us an incredible £1.24 million!
     
    If you would like to join Collette and become a volunteer for Demelza, check out our Volunteering page to learn how donating even a little bit of your time could make a big impact, or apply now at http://bttr.im/c35j3
  • Help needed at Hythe shop

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 29, 2018
    If you have a few hours spare each week, like meeting new people and want to get out of the house, we have the perfect opportunity for you at our Demelza shop in Hythe, Kent.

    More volunteers are needed to help with a variety of tasks at the busy shop – and even just four hours a week would be welcomed.

    Shop volunteers could help out with a variety of tasks from sorting and pricing stock, to serving on the till and dressing the windows.

    Lucy Vint is the new shop manager at Hythe, previously having worked as an assistant manager at Demelza’s Tenterden shop.

    She said: “I currently have about 15 volunteers but I am in need of more. Ideally volunteers will do at least four hours a week and this really helps. Every extra pair of hands makes a difference. It helps us to raise money.

    If you’re bored, lonely, always wanted to work in a shop and want to feel valued then we would love to hear from you! And you’re never too old to volunteer. Indeed, we have one volunteer who is 96.

    Working in the shop is very varied and volunteers don’t have to do the till if they don’t want to. They could accept donations, thank people for donations, sort through donated items, price them and put them in the window. There’s also cleaning to be done and hanging and steaming.”

    Anyone who would like to volunteer is asked to phone the shop on 01303 237457 or to pop in.
     
  • Actor Daniel Radcliffe backs Demelza Christmas appeal

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 26, 2018
    Actor Daniel Radcliffe is using his star power to back our Christmas appeal. Daniel, 29, who is currently on Broadway in New York starring in the play ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’, has narrated our two-minute Christmas fundraising film.

    In the film, Daniel poses the question of what it means to live a #FullLife, a hashtag shared on social media every day by our friends, family and colleagues. But then he asks what it means for a child with a terminal condition.
     
    Daniel continues with the message that Demelza believes a short life should be the fullest of them all. The film makes a play on other often-used social media hashtags such as #OOTD, #MeTime, #Love, #NoLimits and of course #Xmas and what it means for the children that we care for. 
     
    Glynnis, mum to Elke, says: “Everyone expects when they are pregnant to have a healthy child and I was no different. But when Elke was starved of oxygen at birth, doctors didn’t expect her to survive - we were told she wouldn’t make her first Christmas. As a family we approach each day as an opportunity to find something fabulous - even on the bad days. We are so lucky to have been supported to find the best in every day and solutions to problems, thanks to Demelza Hospice Care for Children. 
     
    We come to stay at Demelza, and I’ve often likened it to being at Disney. Not because of the rides, although we’re on our own rollercoaster ride as it is, but, more about the fact that Demelza has thought about everything. It’s like coming to a home from home. It’s like having a supportive family, which can do all the things that you need to do with Elke. Demelza allows us to do the fabulous things that most families would take for granted. This isn’t a place for children to come and die. It’s a place for children to come and live. And their families to live with them. It’s an amazing place.”
     
    Daniel has donated his time for free and the film has been made pro bono by Tunbridge Wells-based advertising agency Southpaw. The music has also been provided free of charge, written by Robert Primrose from Swimming Girls.
     
    Daniel, who is a Demelza Vice President, explained why he chose to voice the Christmas campaign, saying: “Demelza is a charity very close to my heart, having been a supporter for many years now, and I jumped at the opportunity to voice this inspirational video.

    A short life should be the fullest of them all so please watch, share and donate to Demelza to help children with terminal conditions and their loved ones make the most of the precious time they have together.”  
     

    Tamsyn Clark, Director of Marketing & Fundraising, from Demelza said: “We’re very grateful to our Vice President Daniel Radcliffe, the fantastic team at Southpaw and everyone else who has contributed to this magical appeal. Most importantly, we extend our gratitude to the stars of the #FullLife campaign – the children and families who appear in it. They are at the heart of everything we do here at Demelza and we’re beyond grateful to everyone who donates to ensure we can be there for every family who needs us.” 
     
    Tom Poynter, CEO, from Southpaw explained why they decided to help Demelza, saying:We were given a wonderful opportunity to work with a remarkable charity and we just had to help them.  With so many friends and families who have overcome challenges with their own child’s development, it was a subject very close to our heart and a place where we can make a real difference to the charity. At its heart, we want to dispel the myths about hospices being a place where children with a terminal condition go to die – at Demelza, it’s where they go to live.“
     

    View our Christmas appeal and watch the video here.
  • Footballer Johnnie Jackson to captain Demelza London Marathon team

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 23, 2018
    Those who will be pounding the streets and clocking up the miles to train for next year’s London Marathon for Demelza, are going to be given a helping hand – thanks to footballer Johnnie Jackson!

    Johnnie, Charlton Athletic Football Club’s Assistant Manager and former player, is to captain the Demelza Hospice Care for Children London Marathon team and will also be doing the 26 mile event himself. Running with him and also helping to coach the Demelza team will be Ben Talbot, the club’s first team sport scientist.

    Johnnie and Ben will be giving members of #TeamDemelza running and training advice – along with tips on warming up and cooling down, stretching, avoiding injury and nutrition. The Demelza runners will be invited to the Charlton Athletic grounds for several training sessions and will also get the chance to do a few runs with Johnnie and Ben.

    Johnnie has been a Demelza supporter for many years and is a regular visitor to our Eltham hospice. 

    He said: “I always said I would run a marathon as soon as I retired from playing and so here I am – I’ve signed up for the challenge!

    I will be running to raise money for Demelza as this is a cause close to my heart, having visited the children’s hospice in Eltham many times. I’ve been privileged to have met some of the inspiring children and families who use the hospice and I’ve also seen first-hand the amazing work the staff do.

    Ben and I are looking forward to helping the other runners with training, fitness, injury and nutrition advice and we’re looking forward to meeting them all. It would be great if other people who have places decide to run for Demelza so that they can join us too.

    I hope to raise as much as possible for Demelza so the charity can continue with its amazing work. I’m also aiming to beat my Dad who ran a marathon many years ago and claims to have run it in three hours 20 minutes!"


    There are currently 23 runners in our London Marathon team with all 18 charity places allocated and a further five own place runners have also chosen to run for us.

    If you have your own place in the 2019 London Marathon and would like to run for a charity, then why not take advantage of this expert coaching? For more information and to sign up contact our Events Team on 01795 845200.
  • A Christmas wish at Demelza

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 20, 2018
    We would like to ask the local community to give support to babies and children with serious and terminal conditions this festive season by buying specialist items from our Christmas wish list.

    Due to the nature of the conditions of the children and young people using our services, we are always happy to receive sensory toys, CDs, DVDs, computer games, vouchers, books and toiletries, which can be dropped off at either of our hospices in Sittingbourne and Eltham or our office in St. Leonards. Gifts will be given out throughout December and at our New Year Parties in January. Any gifts that cannot be given to families will be used for fundraising and retail, with the money going back into providing care to our children, young people and families. 

    We would also like to invite those who would like to spread a little Christmas cheer to help purchase a piece of equipment if you would prefer. We would kindly ask people not to buy and donate items not on the wish list, as often they might not be suitable for our children, many of whom have very specialist needs. Instead we would it if you could either buy a gift from the wish list, or to give money or an Amazon gift card.

    A message from Chief Executive Ryan Campbell:
     “We are always amazed at the generosity people show our children and families, particularly at Christmas. At this time of year their thoughts often turn to presents, toys and sweets, but unfortunately many of these gifts just would not be suitable for our children’s very special needs.

    Many of our children have very specific dietary requirements and some are tube fed, which means they would not be able to enjoy sweets, like others their age.

    So instead each Christmas we ask those who like to give a gift to purchase something from our wish list, to give an Amazon gift card or a donation direct to Demelza to help us to continue to support our children and their families.

    Every single penny is so desperately needed and we can do so much with your donations, no matter how big or small. A donation of just £25 could provide a family with all their meals for a day during their stay with us, or a donation of £60 would allow a child an art or music therapy session to help express thoughts and feelings they may not be able to put into words.

    Demelza supports the whole family and every Christmas we like to give gifts to brothers and sisters that visit the hospice with their siblings. We’re very fortunate that our present needs will be broadly met by the valued partnership we have with Heart FM’s Giving Tree."
  • TV presenter, Fred Dinenage, visits Demelza

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 19, 2018
    TV presenter Fred Dinenage recently visited Demelza’s Kent hospice in Sittingbourne and met children, families and staff.
     
    During his visit on Monday 29th October, Fred, who presents ITV’s Meridian TV news each weekday evening, had a tour of the hospice and spoke with families about how support from Demelza makes a difference.
     
    He also gave a motivational talk to staff, urging them to keep up the good work.
     
    He told the Demelza team: “You do amazing things for young people. This is my first visit to Demelza and I was chuffed to be asked. What you do is fantastic and I am so full of admiration for you.”
     
    Fred Dinenage MBE is a TV presenter, broadcaster and author who TV career has spanned more than 50 years. He is possibly best known for the How TV series he presented between 1966 and 1981. 
     
  • The Demelza 2018 Business Awards

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 16, 2018
    More than 150 people enjoyed an awards evening which recognised and celebrated the amazing support Demelza receives from the business community.

    The Demelza Business Awards 2018 was attended by companies from across Kent, South East London and East Sussex, with this year’s event compered by BBC Breakfast reporter Tim Muffett, alongside Demelza’s CEO Ryan Campbell. The awards were sponsored by one of Demelza’s longstanding business supporters CLS and took place at the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel in Maidstone. 

    The awards are now in their 11th year and are a chance for Demelza to thank corporate supporters for their fundraising efforts throughout the year. Those who attended were told what a difference their help and their contribution makes. They also heard from parent Liz Wenham who explained how Demelza has supported her daughter Mia and the rest of the family.

    Companies represented at the awards included Swiss Re, Berkeley Homes East Thames, Axis Europe, Aston Lark, Active International, Osborne, EOL IT, Swale Heating, DCB, Maxis, Gallagher Group, Brigade, Kent Reliance, Bellway Homes, Restore, CLS, AdEPT Telecom and Halifax.

    The winners were as follows:
     
    Individual Fundraiser of the Year – Dan Carter, Swiss Re
    Fundraising Team of the Year – Cabot Financial Three Peaks Team
    Bespoke Fundraising Event of the Year – Axis Europe’s Arctic Challenge Trek
    Outstanding Corporate Supporter Bronze – Gallagher Group
    Outstanding Corporate Supporter Silver – Berkeley Homes East Thames
    Outstanding Corporate Supporter Gold – Swiss Re

    After the event Tim Muffett, who lives near to Demelza’s Eltham children’s hospice and who donated his winnings to Demelza after appearing on Celebrity Mastermind said: “I was delighted to support such a worthwhile cause – it was a lovely evening.”

    Those attending enjoyed a three course meal and entertainment from one of the UK’s top mind readers Alex Crow

    Lila Dowie, Demelza’s Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager, said: “We’d like to thank Tim for hosting our awards ceremony and for helping us to say a big thank you to our corporate supporters to whom without we would not be able to provide the care we do to the children and families Demelza supports. Our corporate supporters help us by raising funds, donating goods, giving time and by promoting the work we do. It makes such a huge difference to us.”
     
    Click here to view all the photos from the evening. 
  • Sibling enjoys football fun with Charlton Athletic's Johnnie Jackson

    by Sophie Batchelor | Nov 10, 2018

    Thanks to the generosity and kindness of Charlton Athletic Assistant Manager Johnnie Jackson one of our siblings recently enjoyed some half term football fun.

     

    Six-year-old Leo was given a free place at the Johnnie Jackson Football Academy, after Johnnie heard all about Leo’s younger brother Noah, who has a rare genetic condition called H-ABC which progressively damages the nervous system. There are only 100 cases worldwide. Noah, aged two, also has dystonia which results in painful muscle spasms.

     

    Demelza supports Noah and his family, including Leo, Mum Mags and Dad Dean, who live in Bexley. Johnnie Jackson is one of our supporters and a regular visitor to our children’s hospice in Eltham, South East London, where he heard the family story.

     

    Mum Mags said: “Leo had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Both Johnnie and Mark Hughes were excellent in making him feel involved and they very kindly gave Leo the player if the week trophy.”

  • Demelza CEO receives CBE from Prince William

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 09, 2018
     
    Demelza’s Chief Executive Ryan Campbell proudly received a CBE from Prince William when an awards ceremony was held at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of November.

    Ryan received the CBE for the work he has carried out with the mental health charity Mind, where he is the outgoing Chair of Trustees. He was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List earlier this year for services to improving mental health provision in England and Wales.

    Ryan also managed to include a subtle tribute to Demelza on the day by sporting a pair of shoes purchased from the Demelza Shopping Outlet and cufflinks from the Demelza charity shop in Tonbridge.

    In his role at Mind for over a decade and Chair for the last six years Ryan has overseen the charity’s governance at a time of unprecedented development in the challenging of stigma around mental health problems and increased public and political attention on the nation’s mental health.

    Ryan has also been Chief Executive of Demelza Hospice Care for Children since 2015 and has been pivotal in driving forward the charity’s five year strategy, with the aim of doubling the number of children with terminal conditions it cares for by 2021. 
  • Demelza says farewell to long-serving member of care team, Ann Fagg

    by Sophie Batchelor | Nov 07, 2018

    A much loved and respected member of the Demelza care team said a sad goodbye to children, families and colleagues when she moved on to pastures new after 18 years with the charity.

    Ann Fagg joined Demelza in February 2000 as a nurse and worked her way up to Care Services Lead. Most of her time was spent working at Demelza’s Kent hospice, in Sittingbourne, but the last three years Ann has worked at the charity’s Eltham hospice in South East London.

    Children gave Ann hand-made cards and staff enjoyed tea and cake with Ann before she left – as well as trip down memory lane, recalling special times.

    Ann said: “I'm very sad to be leaving. It’s not really felt like a job but more of a vocation. I will really miss Demelza, the ethos of the organisation, what it stands for and how it puts families at the centre of everything.

    “It’s been a privilege to work here and to work with the children and their families. It’s been truly rewarding to have been a small part of their lives.”

    When Ann arrived at Demelza there was just the Sittingbourne hospice. Today Demelza, as well as supporting children and families in Kent, also has another children’s hospice in Eltham and supports children in the community in East Sussex.

  • Families enjoy a frightfully good time

    by Mellissa Cox | Nov 02, 2018
    A fang-tastically good time was had by hundreds of families who took part in our Halloween Pumpkin Hunts across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.
     
    The events took take place during the October half term – with almost 2,000 children enjoying the fun, while at the same time raising a staggering £15,000 for the charity which supports children with serious and terminal conditions and their families.
     
    Pumpkin Hunt events took place in Chislehurst, Greenwich, Sevenoaks, Gravesend, West Malling and Whitstable and Hastings, with children dressing up in costumes including witches, wizards, vampires, monsters, pumpkins, bats and cats to enjoy some boo-tiful skele-fun.
     
    With each event pumpkins were on display with various retailers and at local landmarks and children were required to hunt for them around their local town while picking up treats from shops and businesses along the way.
     
    Children were encouraged to wear fancy dress with the best Halloween costume in each location winning a prize. Winners from each town will now be judged against each other for the chance of winning a Merlin family pass, kindly donated by one of Demelza’s corporate partners Active International. 
     
    The Halloween Pumpkin Hunts were open to children aged 3-11. Those taking part were given their own Pumpkin Passport to get stamped and were given treats at stops along the route.
     
    Tamsyn Clark, Demelza’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing, said: “Families who took part in our Halloween Pumpkin Hunt events had a fantastic time and enjoyed some safe Halloween fun, with two of our events, Chislehurst and West Malling, being complete sell outs!
     
    “The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt is a simply lovely family event and having created a very successful event in Chislehurst, we took the opportunity to roll out the events across Kent and East Sussex. We invited children to dress up if they wanted to and parents and youngsters went all out to create some fabulous costumes. I’d like to thank everyone who supported the events including participants and sponsors who both helped us raise much needed funds for Demelza, so that we can continue to support our families.”
     
    Demelza runs fun events and challenges throughout the year. To find out more visit our Challenges and Events page at: www.demelza.org.uk/support-us/challenges-and-events
  • Demelza Chief Executive welcomes call for more support for dying children and their families

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 26, 2018
    Calls for more support for children with terminal conditions have been welcomed by the Chief Executive of Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

    Ryan Campbell has given his backing to the findings of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care and also welcomes its recommendations which call for the Government to take urgent action in several areas, including funding.

    Mr Campbell said: “There have been cut backs in funding for respite breaks for children with complex disabilities and sometimes the only break these families have is through charitable organisations such as Demelza.

    “We would like to see families being given more help and support – as well as choice. We believe they should be able to choose the place of death for their child, but at the moment that is not the case.

    “The report also mentions the various agencies and organisations working more closely together, which is something we welcome and in fact that is now happening here in our area. Through new clinical network partnerships and a strategic approach within the wider health and social care planning system we are looking at future plans to transform health and social care. It’s good news that as experts in children’s palliative care we are included.”

    The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care has been examining the extent to which the Government is meeting its end of life care choice commitment.  

    Their report found that England’s most vulnerable children are not able to access the full range of care and support that the Government has committed to, for seriously ill children and their families. 

    Despite the commitment – which outlines six ways ministers believe that people approaching the end of their lives should be supported – the APPG heard evidence from young-people, families, services and professionals that the quality of palliative care children and families can access is patchy and depends on where in England they live. MPs and peers state that this is unfair and represents a wholly unjustified health inequality.

    The APPG’s report, End of life care: strengthening choice, was published on 21 October. It highlighted five areas of particular concern, where many children and their families have limited access to:
    • children’s palliative care out of hours and at weekends
    • short breaks for respite
    • age-appropriate palliative care and smooth transitions to adult services
    • specialist children’s palliative care teams led by Level 4 consultants
    • advance care planning

    The APPG identified five areas in which it wants the Government to take urgent action. These included leadership and accountability, clarity for those who plan and fund (commission) children’s palliative care, funding, workforce and integration.

    Dr Caroline Johnson MP, a Consultant Paediatrician and Co-Chiar of the APPG for Children Who Need Palliative Care, said: “The Government’s commitment to the 40,000 babies, children and young people in England with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions is clear and welcome. It is vital that all have access to advance care planning, specialist services, and short breaks for respite. As much choice as possible should also be given to seriously ill children and their families about where their care is provided, how it is provided, and by whom.

    “However, we have identified a number of different challenges which, if not quickly met by the ministers, will threaten their ability to meet their end of life care choice commitment for children by 2020. I ask the Government to work with us to implement the recommendations we make.”

    Catherine McKinnell MP, Co-Chair of the APPG, said “Well-planned and funded children’s palliative care, including that provided in hospitals, children’s hospices and in the community, improves outcomes for children with life-limiting conditions. It also helps to prevent costly, emergency admissions to hospital when families reach crisis point. I urge ministers to make sure that children’s palliative care is part of the NHS’s new plan, and that it is sustainably funded in the long-term, both through NHS and local authority funding.”

    “Children who have life-limiting conditions and their families don’t have any time to waste,” said Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives, which supported the APPG to research and write the report. “They need the support and services to allow them to make the most of their time together – without this lifeline support their lives can become even more difficult. We support the recommendations of the APPG, and ask Theresa May and her ministers to fulfil the commitments they have made around children’s palliative care. We’d encourage all our members, supporters and the public to contact their own MPs and ask them to ensure everyone involved – ministers, officials and commissioners – work tirelessly to make this commitment a reality.” 
     
  • Britain's Got Talent Winner Richard Jones brings magic to Demelza

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 25, 2018

    World-class celebrity magician, mind reader and winner of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, Lance Corporal Richard Jones made a very special visit to Demelza in Kent on Thursday, 25 October 2018. Richard Jones, as Ambassador for Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children, wants to do all he can to help children with serious and life-limiting conditions, and their families, to make the most of every moment.

    Richard Jones spent the afternoon meeting families supported at Demelza’s Sittingbourne children’s hospice and had the opportunity to see first-hand the remarkable and lifeline support Demelza offers to children across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

    During his visit Richard enchanted children, siblings and parents with an extra special magical afternoon of fun, mystery and illusion – and even shared some inner secrets about his magical powers. Richard met with families like those of seven-year-old Hallie who has osteopetrosis; a rare and life-limiting genetic condition that can result in bone fractures, restricted height, frequent infections, sight loss and hearing impairment.

    The respite care Hallie receives at Demelza is a lifeline to her family, including her big brother and little sister.

    Mum Megan said: “We can’t leave Hallie with anyone else. Her grandparents love being with her but her medical needs are too much for them and they would be scared to be in charge. To take her somewhere where the care team know exactly what they are doing means we can relax.”

    Richard said: “It’s been so amazing to meet all the children and families and the wonderful team here at Demelza. What they do here is magic. Seeing all the smiles has been a highlight for me and I am so proud to be an Ambassador for Together for Short Lives.”

    Helen Rolls, Care Services Lead at Demelza, said: “We were delighted to welcome Richard to one of our specialist children’s hospices. The impact of our work is all about removing fear, providing rest and bringing smiles to the faces of children with terminal conditions and their loved ones. What better way to do this, than with some fantastic magic for all to enjoy?”

    Like us on Facebook and Instagram to see more magic moments from Richard's visit.

  • Spooktacular Pumpkin Hunt Prizes up for grabs

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 20, 2018

    Spending time together as a family is at the heart of our values, and probably yours too – which is why we’re so excited about the Grand Pumpkin prize that’s up for grabs in the costume contest across all of our Halloween Pumpkin Hunt events!

    There's just one week to go until the Pumpkin Hunts come creeping into a haunt near you - and there are some seriously spooktacular prizes for those who come trick-or-treating in the best creepy costumes.

    Dress up in your most original Halloween finery for the chance to win fantastic family prizes, generously donated by participants and sponsors from the local area of your Pumpkin Hunt. You can see more information and terms of entry for each hunt using the links below.

    Thanks to a generous donation from Active International, the best of the best-dressed will receive an amazing annual Merlin Family Pass for their family! It’s your ticket to 12 months of thrills, adventures and memory making with your nearest and dearest, with access to attractions like Thorpe Park, LEGOLAND Windsor, Madame Tussauds, The Dungeons, SEA LIFE Centres, Chessington World of Adventures, and more!

    grand-prize

    So if you’re already coming to a Halloween Pumpkin Hunt (or just really enjoy dressing your whole family up), bring your best ideas to life and you could go home with more than a goody bag full of treats.

    There's not long to go to get your tickets - Chislehurst has already sold out, but there's six other hunts to join. Click here to get yours.

    Are you following us on Facebook? There's plenty more Halloween fun over on the event pages, so make sure you RSVP and share with friends!

    Costumes

    Prizes for the Pumpkin Hunts
    Chislehurst
    Greenwich
    Whitstable
    Hastings
    Sevenoaks
    West Malling
    Gravesend


  • Demelza supports local job seekers with Dress to Impress initiative

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 15, 2018
    Demelza shops in Kent have joined forces with national careers app Debut and TV fashion expert Amber Butchart to feature a ‘Dress to Impress for £10’ initiative from Monday 15 October.

    The national initiative is being showcased at charity shops across the UK and will help improve job prospects for millions of individuals by providing access to interview outfits for only £10 and educate job seekers on correct interview attire.

    The Demelza shops participating in the initiative are in Maidstone town centre, Tonbridge town centre and Canterbury town centre. 

    More than 650 charity shops spanning the UK will each feature a dedicated section of their retail space to the Dress to Impress initiative, and store volunteers will share advice and tips that have been provided by the BBC’s fashion expert, Amber Butchart.
    The initiative will give everyone access to interview attire on a budget while demystifying what candidates should wear to an interview today, after research undertaken by Debut revealed that 72 percent of career hopefuls aged 16-23 didn’t know where to start.  

    Demelza’s Director of Retail, Ashley Henson, said: “We are excited to be a part of this campaign as it will impact our fundraising whilst making a difference to our customers’ lives too. We receive some fantastic donations at our local stores that would make great interview attire, so the Dress to Impress section will be a real highlight for job seekers, and anyone else who wears business attire that is looking for a bargain.”
    The BBC’s Fashion Expert, Amber Butchart, who has informed the fashion advice for the campaign, added: “I'm really excited to be working with Debut and the country’s charity shops on the ‘Dress to Impress for £10’ initiative. It’s supportive, promotes sustainability and gives everyone the same chance to look and feel great during an interview. 

    “The UK’s charity shops are brimming with hidden gems that are waiting to go from being pre-loved to re-loved and this campaign makes it easier to find them. Thousands of store volunteers have been armed with my interview attire advice and a list of interview staples that they will be showcasing in the dedicated sections of the store, which are signposted to be found easily.”  

    Charlie Taylor, Founder and CEO of Debut calls for members of the public to get involved. He said:  “Everyone in the UK can benefit from this campaign - job seekers can pick up a great outfit on a budget and feel interview-ready, whilst everyone else can get involved and donate their own pre-loved interview attire that they no longer need to help a number of fantastic causes.

    “The idea for the initiative stemmed from a piece of research we did that revealed that seven in every ten people aged 16-23 are confused about what to wear for an interview. Here at Debut we decided to set the record straight and give every candidate the chance to purchase a fantastic interview outfit on a budget, armed with the information they need to ‘dress to impress’ and land their dream career.”

    Robin Osterley, CEO of the Charity Retail Association, which represents the interests of charity retailers that run more than 8,600 shops, explained why they got behind the Dress to Impress initiative. He said:“Charity shops play a vital role in every community, making them a perfect place to help this campaign start conversations about finding work, give people a helping hand to get into employment, or source a fantastic interview outfit for a good price.

    “The Dress to Impress for £10 initiative is extremely relevant today as competition for jobs is increasing, and people are looking for ways to save money during the job application process. Often education around what to wear is also missing - and this campaign helps to overcome that whilst supporting great causes across the UK.”

    Fashion historian and author Amber provided insight on how to dress for an interview and the wardrobe staples that can be found in participating charity stores: 

    Amber’s advice:
    • Research the dress policy of the company you are applying for
    • Don’t be afraid to wear colour, but avoid clashing prints unless you’re interviewing for the arts or creative industries
    • Smart separates can be better than an ill-fitting or poorly-made suit
    • Avoid jeans and T-shirts unless you’re sure the company has a relaxed attitude to dress
    • Avoid open-toed shoes, but white, low-rise sneakers (think Stan Smiths) can add a contemporary element to your professional look
    • The details matter: make sure your socks match and your clothes aren’t creased
    • Avoid garments with too much text, such as slogans or enormous logos
    • A blazer or jacket in a dark colour is a good re-wearable piece for smartening up an outfit

    Interview Staples:
    • Smart trousers
    • Knee length skirts
    • Shirts/blouses - not formal dress shirts but smart, can include colour
    • Brogues/loafers
    • Smart flats and heels
    • Blazers and jackets
    • Knitwear - smart sweaters and cardigans

    The campaign launches in 650+ charity shops that will each be displaying a window sticker from Wednesday 17 October 2018 and will run for as long as there is demand in-store. Find out more about the Dress to Impress for £10 campaign at www.debut.careers
     
  • Demelza supports Baby Loss Awareness Week

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 12, 2018
    This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week, throughout which bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.

    Demelza often receives referrals from neonatal teams, when babies have complex clinical needs. We are experienced in providing compassionate care and support for the whole family from the first contact until after a child has died. Children’s Palliative Care Nurse Charlotte shared her experiences of supporting a family who was referred to us:

    “We had baby Adam* here a while ago who’d had an antenatal diagnosis that sadly meant he wasn’t going to survive, due to a heart condition. After birth, the family were in neonatal intensive care for a couple of days before coming to Demelza, and though Adam was here for end of life, he did manage to go home for Christmas. We arranged for some of our nurses to go out to the family home to support them, building the parents’ confidence, by teaching them to do everything that Adam needed.

    Adam died peacefully at home and the family chose to return to Demelza. He laid at rest in our Butterfly Suite, which is a special bedroom that allows parents and families to spend up to five days with their child, giving them that precious time to say goodbye before a funeral. 

    I think the most important thing families take away from being able to have the time together at Demelza is the memories they make. We encourage them to take lots of pictures and we can make imprints of hands and feet. Our Music Therapist even sang to one baby after they had died, at the request of a mum who wanted to connect her child to their culture.

    If a family chooses for their child to die at Demelza, we’ll ensure they have the support they need to focus on loving each other and making lasting memories. We can’t make the loss any less painful, but we can give a family a dedicated and private space to be together, without fuss or interruption.”

    *Name has been changed for privacy.
     
  • Join Team Demelza for the 2019 London Marathon

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 08, 2018
    Ballot results for London 2019 have just been announced and this week will see both celebrations and commiserations for those who got places and those who missed out. Some who got a place might even be feeling a bit fearful. But whichever way it went the advice from the Demelza charity is do not despair!

    For those who were lucky enough to secure their own place there is an appeal for them to join the Demelza London Marathon team and to get stuck in with fundraising at the same time as pounding the streets – turning miles into pounds to help the charity support children with terminal and serious conditions and their families. Support will also be available to runners to help with training and motivations.

    And for those who missed out on a place in the ballot there is still hope, as Demelza has a limited number of spaces remaining. The participation target to run for Team Demelza is £2,000.

    Each year Demelza has a team of runners – who certainly stand out in the crowd – in their red and white spotted t-shirts.

    Hayley Richardson, head of community and events at Demelza said: “If you were lucky enough to get a place then congratulations and please consider running for Demelza, so that you could help children with terminal and serious conditions and their families, at the same time as accomplishing an amazing challenge. 

    “Or if you missed out on a place don’t despair as we still have some Demelza places available, although runners would need to raise at least £2,000. We can help with this though, with some great fundraising ideas and tips. We’ll be with our runners every step of the way, offering group training runs, full fundraising support and a post-race reception at our Sittingbourne, Kent, hospice to say thanks you for all your hard work and to show where the money goes.”

    For more information please contact Demelza’s Events Team on 01795 845191 or email eventbookings@demelza.org.uk
     
  • Fundraising gala raises mammoth amount

    by Sophie Batchelor | Oct 05, 2018
    Demelza’s annual fundraising gala raised a staggering amount – bringing in more than £100,000 for the charity.
     
    It was held at The Ned, a historic building in the heart of London and one of the newest additions to the Soho House group.
     
    The evening included an auction with one lot selling at £24,000, which was a prize to go to sea on board HMS Kent as guests of the Commanding Officer, with HMS Kent having support Demelza for the past 20 years.
     
    Demelza’s Head of Major Donor Relationships Sarah Kemsley said: “This very special evening was for 110 of our loyal and dedicated supporters and was a great opportunity to keep this key group of people updated with the challenges that we face and our plans to substantially increase the number of families we are able to work with over the next few years. The generosity shown by those in the room to help us with our goals is humbling and heart-warming.”
     
    The evening included a performance by Only Men Aloud, who travelled from Wales to support Demelza. The group perform all styles of music including Welsh hymns and folk songs, opera and music theatre, swing and pop. They were formed in 2000 and in 2010 won a Classical Brit Award for Best Album of the Year.
     
  • Former footballer and TV pundit supports charity golf day

    by Paul Lawrence | Sep 28, 2018
    TV football pundit and former Everton and West Ham striker Tony Cottee took time out to support a charity golf day organised by a Kent-based house builder – which raised nearly £14,000.

    The event was held at Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club in Ticehurst, East Sussex, by Bellway Kent, which has its divisional head office in Kings Hill.

    Fifteen teams – made up of staff at Bellway Kent as well as sub-contractors, colleagues and friends – took to the course to raise funds for Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Cancer Research UK. Tony Cottee competed in one of the teams, as well as compering a charity auction after the event.

    Mark Harrop, Sales Director for Bellway Kent, said: “We are so pleased with the success of the golf day and want to thank everyone who attended this fantastic event. We’d also like to thank Tony for taking part and entertaining us.

    “We have an excellent relationship with both Demelza Hospice Care for Children and Cancer Research UK and we are looking forward to building on this in the future.

    “We are committed to supporting these two charities which both do such important work in the communities in which we build our new homes.”

    Pictured: Tony Cottee, with Kyle Johnson from Landmark Civil Engineering LTD and Managing Director for Bellway Kent, Chris Moore. 
  • Shop appeal for designer clothes

    by Sophie Batchelor | Sep 27, 2018
    Tired of Ted Baker? Grumpy with Gucci? Fed up with Fendi and bored with Burberry? Then ditch your designer dresses and haute couture and help a good cause at the same time!

    Demelza Hospice Care for Children has a new shop in Tonbridge which opened in August and has several designer clothes, shoes and accessories rails, which are proving very popular. So popular in fact that stock is selling extremely fast, meaning the shop is in need of some more donations.

    The shop would welcome items for women, men and children, whether it’s a stunning party dress, a work suit or designer shoes. Stock can be taken to the shop during opening hours which are Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

    Rachel Stead, Demelza’s Shop Operations Manager, said: “At our Tonbridge shop we have a designer wardrobe and designer rails. We’ve had Ralph Lauren menswear, Levi jeans and Ted Baker dresses, to name just a few. The designer wear at our Tonbridge shop sells really fast – which is why we need some more. We’d welcome menswear, jeans, dresses, handbags and shoes.

    “We’d also need other donations to keep our shop well stocked including children’s clothes and toys.” 

    Bucks Fizz singer and Demelza Vice President Cheryl Baker donated several items of designer clothing when she opened the Tonbridge shop in August.

    Those who donate and those who make purchases at the Demelza shop will both be helping the charity to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones.

    Find your nearest Demelza shop at: https://www.demelza.org.uk/shop-with-us/local-shops