• Ships ahoy for Demelza siblings

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 10, 2018
    Brothers and sisters of children supported by Demelza had a fab time when they attended a two day sailing course on the River Thames.
    Four children took part, aged eight to 14, with them all passing a Royal Yachting Association course at the Ahoy Centre in Deptford. The weather was extremely hot but the youngsters managed to keep cool with regular water fights.
    Demelza supports the whole family, holding regular events and outings for siblings.
    Family Support Worker Teresa Motton said: “During the two days the children went out on the River Thames and learnt the basics of sailing. It was a fantastic couple of days with some great children.”
    The cost of the course for each child was mostly funded by the Ahoy Centre, with Demelza only having to pay a small charge for each participant.
  • Cheryl Baker to open new Demelza shop

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 10, 2018
    Demelza is excited to announce that Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker is to open its new Tonbridge shop on Tuesday 21 August, at 11am.

    Cheryl, a Eurovision Song Contest Winner, is one of Demelza’s Vice Presidents and regularly supports Demelza events.

    The singer has kindly offered to donate several items to the shop, which will be at 48 High Street, Tonbridge. She will also have a short stint behind the till where she will serve a customer.

    The new shop will sell clothes, shoes, toys, bric-a-brac, books and household items and bargain hunters can shop in the knowledge that their hard earned cash will be used by Demelza to provide specialist care and emotional support for children with serious and terminal conditions and their loved ones.

    Donations can be dropped off at the shop from Thursday 16 August. 

    If you would like to volunteer to help at the shop, even for just a few hours a week, then please contact Demelza’s Area Retail Manager Shirley Winch, on 07712 321392.
  • Picnics enjoyed at family event

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 10, 2018
    Families enjoyed picnics, games and fun in the sun when Demelza held an event at Cobtree Manor Park in Maidstone, Kent.

    The picnic day attracted six families from the local area who enjoyed meeting and sharing similar experiences.

    The very hot temperatures meant families set up picnic blankets in the shade and enjoyed ice creams and ice lollies to help keep cool.

    Mum Jude Bell was at the event with her family. She said: “It’s lovely for us to be able to go out as a family and to be around people who understand. Events organised by Demelza are always so well planned and welcoming and friendly.”

    To find out more about future family events, please visit the Demelza Family Events page.
  • New care at home project is launched

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 06, 2018
    Demelza has launched a new pilot project which will see children in Kent supported in the family home.

    Care@Home was launched in August and involves four families, with children under five, who live close to Demelza’s Kent hospice.  

    Children’s Palliative Care Nurse Beth Helen said: “We have found that not all families feel comfortable about coming to a hospice, but they would like our help. Also it can also be easier for families if we go to them rather than them having to pack lots of equipment and bring their child to us.

    “Families have told us this is something they would like and we aim to give them a choice in the future. Some will still like to drop their children off and have a much needed break, others like to stay at our hospices as a family and others want support at home.

    ”In family homes we can provide a range of support, depending on the child and family’s individual needs. We can do a range of activities with children, looking after them while their parents have a break, or support a relative who might not have the confidence to look after the child on their own. We can offer the children new experiences such as art activities, story time, whatever they enjoy.”

    The project has received significant funding from global reinsurance firm Swiss Re, but with all Demelza services it will require further and future funding to be rolled out to other families in need. 

    The pilot is due to end on October 25 and there will be an on-going review to swiftly build on the successes.
  • Garden opens for Demelza

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 03, 2018
    More than 400 people enjoyed an afternoon of sun and shade and music and tranquillity when a couple opened their one acre garden to raise money for Demelza.

    The garden is in Sidcup and belongs to Jacky and David Cook and includes potted plants, hanging baskets, water features, a secret garden, trees, colourful flowers, shrubs, herbaceous plants a wooden gazebo, winding paths and a fairy garden which is lit up at night. The garden opening also included performances by the Greenwich Concert Band, of which Mr Cook is a member and classical guitarist Osamu Yano, as well as stalls and refreshments.

    The event raised £3,000.

    Jacky Cook said: “The garden is our pride and joy and we work very hard on it. The day was a real team effort with help from our family and Demelza staff and volunteers. It was a lovely event. We really went to town and put up balloons and red and white spotty bunting in the Demelza colours.”
  • Cyclists raise more than £15,000

    by Paul Lawrence | Aug 03, 2018
    A team of more than 40 cyclists took part in Ride London for Demelza and between them raised a staggering £15,502!
    The determined riders cycled 100 miles in the wind and rain and both the participants and Demelza were thrilled to see the fundraising target smashed.
    The team included two parents whose children and families are supported by Demelza and two riders who work with Swiss Re, a leading reinsurance firm which has offices in Folkestone, Kent and London, who are corporate supporters.
    Prudential Ride London sets off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and follows a 100 mile route on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside. With testing climbs and a route made famous by the world’s best cyclists, it’s a spectacular route which finishes at The Mall in central London.
    Ride London is known as the London Marathon of cycling with the 20,000 places selling out in days. Demelza will be entering a team again next year and there are currently places spare.

    For more details and to sign up visit the Ride London 2019 event page.
  • Cheryl Baker presents special cot

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 31, 2018
    Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker presented Demelza Hospice Care for Children with a specialist piece of equipment and heard how it will help grieving parents.

    Demelza was presented with a cold cot thanks to Abigail’s Footsteps, a national charity focussed on stillbirth bereavement. Cheryl Baker is a vice president with both charities.

    During her visit to the Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne Cheryl visited a special bedroom where a baby or child can lay at rest for up to five days after they have died, allowing their family to say goodbye in a familiar and supportive environment. The special bedroom has to be kept cold, which can mean parents cannot stay in the room for too long without becoming uncomfortable. Thanks to the donation families could choose to only have the cot kept cold and they would also be able to take their baby out of the room.Cheryl Baker

    Ryan Campbell, Demelza’s Chief Executive, said: “This will make such a difference to our families. We are very grateful for this donation which will help families at a very difficult time.”

    The cold cot was given to Abigail’s Footsteps by an Aylesford resident Harry House. Harry was born premature and his chances of survival were slim, but he survived against the odds and has recently celebrated his 18th birthday. He wanted to mark the milestone by doing something special to help others. Unfortunately he was unable to attend the presentation as he was on holiday.

    David Ward, the founder and Chief Executive of Abigail’s Footsteps presented the cot with Cheryl Baker. Over the past five years Abigail’s Footsteps have purchased and then donated 15 cold cots to hospitals and hospices.

  • Declutter and donate to Demelza

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 25, 2018

    Families are being asked to have a good summer sort out and to donate unwanted items to our new charity shop which is opening in Tonbridge soon.

    The shop will be at 48 High Street, Tonbridge and will be open to shoppers and to accept donations from Thursday 16 August with an official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to take place the following week on Tuesday 21 August.

    We are asking householders to donate a whole host of items from clothing, lingerie, shoes and accessories to books, CDs, DVDs, toys and bric-a-brac as well as electrical items including old laptops or iPads, lawnmowers and strimmers or even old fish tanks!

    The only items that can’t be donated are very old TVs (they must be flat screen TVs), safety equipment such as crash helmets or child car seats and duvets and pillows.

    Donations can only be left at the shop once it opens.

    The shop is also renewing an appeal for volunteers. Tasks carried out by volunteers include working on the till, serving customers, sorting through donated stock, pricing stock and creating eye catching window displays. Volunteers must be aged over 16.

    Demelza shops provide a vital source of income to help us support children with terminal conditions and their families.

    If you would like to volunteer please contact area retail manager Shirley Winch on 07712 321392
  • Golf day success

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 24, 2018
    Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman was just one of the players who took part in a fun golf day to help raise funds for Demelza.
    The Reliable Contractors Golf Day was sponsored by Reliable Contractors, whose head office is in Margate and took place at the London Golf Club, at Ash, near Brands Hatch. It raised more than £28,000. The money will help Demelza to provide vital support to families with children who have serious and terminal conditions.
    The day included a show by trick shot artist and entertainer Jeremy Dale – with golfers then having a go themselves, with only a few managing to hit the ball.
    Clare Emmett, Demelza’s Senior Major Donor Relationships Fundraiser, said: “Demelza would like to say a big thank you to Brian Greene at Reliable Contractors and Jimmy Greene at the GTi Travel Group for helping to organise such a great day - and another big thank you to Brian Greene and Reliable Contractors for sponsoring the day.”
    If you would like to know how your company could make a difference to families in desperate need of our support then please contact us on 01795 845 200.
  • Teens enjoy music festival

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 20, 2018
    Teenagers with serious and terminal conditions enjoyed a mini music festival thanks to local musicians.

    The event which takes place once a year was held at our Sittingbourne hospice in Kent, for members of the TIZ group. TIZ stands for The Inclusion Zone and is for teenagers who use our care services.

    Those who performed include a local rock band The Chilly Fingers, John Cunningham who was representing Music in Hospitals and Care and Ben and Rich from a local band called High Jinx.

    After the performances the evening continued with DJ Kev Wilson who compiled a playlist of favourite artists as requested by the teens. 

    We would like to thank all those who supported the event.
  • MPs support call for extra funding

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 19, 2018
    Demelza Hospice Care for Children is calling for increased funding for children with serious and terminal conditions – and is asking local MPs for their support.

    The charity, which supports families in Kent, South East London and East Sussex, would like part of a recent £20 billion NHS funding boost to be allocated to vital hospice services which support children with terminal and serious conditions and their families.

    Demelza wants to see the Children’s Hospice Grant in England, which is shared among 38 children’s hospices, rise from £11 million to £25 million. There is a call for an increase in funding as the number of children with life-limiting conditions is increasing and the demand for children’s palliative care is growing, but funding for services has not kept pace with demand.

    Ryan Campbell, Demelza’s Chief Executive, has written to MPs in Kent, East Sussex and South East London, to ask for their help. 

    Mr Campbell said: “Demelza provides palliative care for over 750 life-limited and life-threatened babies, children and young people in the South East and supports their families. We know there are more who need our help and that the number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions is increasing.

    “The grant has grown incrementally from £8.8 million in 2006/07 but it has not kept pace with the growing costs of providing specialist care.

    “I am keen that some of the additional NHS funding recently announced by the Prime Minister is used to recognise the growing demand for care and support that Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides.

    “Investing in children’s palliative care means that children and families can access vital services which help manage pain and distressing symptoms and offer short breaks for respite desperately needed by families providing 24/7 care, 365 days a year.

    “Our MPs have been very supportive since we raised this issue with them, for which we are very grateful.”

    Demelza has a children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent and another in Eltham, South East London. It provides support in family homes and the community in East Sussex. Demelza receives just a share of the £11 million Children’s Hospice Grant – with the money divided up between all of the children’s hospices in England and Wales.

    In support of Demelza’s call for more funding the MP for Lewisham West and Penge Ellie Reeves raised a parliamentary question asking what recent assessment there had been of the level of funding for the Children’s Hospice Grant. She was told that there has been a consultation and it had been decided to keep the grant funding at its current level and to carry out a review in 2019/20. Following the answer the MP is to table a further question asking what assessment has been made of the adequacy of the funding.

    Roger Gale, MP for Thanet, has contacted the NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss funding locally and Brighton MP Caroline Lucas has said she will call for the Government to increase the grant and for the development of a funded, cross-departmental children’s palliative strategy for England.

    Demelza and other children’s hospices across England are working with Together for Short Lives to call for more funds. Together for Short Lives has launched an online petition urging the Government to increase the children’s hospice grant.

    Click here to find out more and sign the petition.
  • Swiss Re raises staggering amount for Demelza!

    by Joanna Blewett | Jul 19, 2018
    Generous employees have raised an amazing £100,000 by holding a series of fun and exciting fundraising events.

    They have included a London to Folkestone cycle ride, a sponsored walk, a fun run, cake sales, raffles and also a dressing up day where the CEO surprised staff by arriving at his desk dressed as a giant bunny!

    Staff at Swiss Re voted to support Demelza Hospice Care for Children for two years and reached the fundraising milestone within the first six months. They are aiming to raise at least £200,000, but are looking like they will smash the original target, with the company kindly matching monies raised by employees.

    The global and leading reinsurance firm chose to support Demelza as it was a charity which was close to the hearts of several members of staff.

    Monies raised by Swiss Re will help Demelza to provide families with a hospice at home service – a new project which the charity will be trialling in Kent from August. 
    Demelza has two children’s hospices, one in Sittingbourne, Kent and another in Eltham, South East London. The charity also provides support in the community in East Sussex. This summer Demelza wants to expand help in family homes into Kent as well.

    Rachel Walker, Corporate Partnerships Executive, said: “We were absolutely thrilled when we were told that Swiss Re had chosen to support us. Help from local businesses and the local community is vital to us, so that we can continue to support children who are terminally ill and their families. 
    “Staff at Swiss Re are doing an amazing job with their fundraising and we really appreciate their efforts and generosity. Everyone is doing their bit and helping in whatever way they can whether that is by cycling, running, walking, holding a raffle or baking cakes. Thank you so much!”
    Going the Distance was Swiss Re’s biggest fundraiser to date for Demelza which saw 23 members of staff cycling 81 miles from London to Folkestone, stopping off at the hospices in Eltham and Sittingbourne on the way, for rest and refreshments. On the same day a further 45 members of staff did a sponsored walk in Folkestone and others did a 10 mile run. The cyclists included Swiss Re’s Chief Executive Officer for the UK and Ireland Frank O’Neill.

    Swiss Re employees have also been volunteering with Demelza and have so far given more than 300 hours of their time.

    If your company or organisation would like to fundraise for Demelza then please contact our Corporate Partnerships team. Find out more on our website at: https://www.demelza.org.uk/support-us/corporate-partnerships
    Alternatively phone Rachel Walker on 01795 845 193.
  • Appeal for shop volunteers

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 19, 2018

    Demelza Hospice Care for Children is appealing for volunteers to work in its new Tonbridge shop.

    The shop is due to open next month (August) and volunteers are needed to carry out various tasks from serving customers and operating the till to sorting, hanging and pricing stock, helping to keep the shop clean and tidy and also to dress the windows.

    Volunteers should be aged over 16 and could be students, parents whose children are at school, people who want to add to their CVs or those who are retired. Demelza volunteers are from all walks of life and at various stages of their lives and careers.

    Shirley Winch, an area retail manager with Demelza, said: “There’s a real variety of jobs ranging from being on the shop floor and on the till or meeting and greeting customers, to being behind the scenes sorting and pricing stock which can be anything from clothes to bric-a-brac. They could also do some window dressing if they have a particular flair for that.

    “Full training is given, so it’s a great way to learn new skills. It looks good on CVs, it’s a great way to meet people and it’s also good fun.”

    Felicity Longley, 71, is a volunteer at Demelza’s Canterbury shop. She said: “I work in the Demelza shop one day a week and do whatever jobs need doing. I can be on the till, or unpacking donations or working in the bridal department advising customers.

    “It’s worthwhile and interesting and I get to meet lots of different people. At the end of the day I have a sense of achievement, having done something for a very worthwhile cause.”

    Shop volunteers also help Demelza to raise funds to provide vital support to children with terminal conditions and their families.

    For an informal chat about volunteering opportunities please contact Shirley on 07712 321392.

  • Hundreds brave the hot weather for the South East London Bubble Rush

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 16, 2018
    Families braved blazing temperatures at the weekend to take part in the Demelza Hospice Care for Children South East London Bubble Rush.

    Despite temperatures approaching 30 degrees in the capital more than 700 people dug out their sunhats and sun cream and enjoyed a day of bubbly fundraising fun.

    The event saw bubblers of all ages going through 4ft (1.2m) walls of coloured foam and going twice round a 2.5km course – with much fun and laughter along the way.

    Participants included children, dads, mums, aunts, uncles, grandparents and carers. They included families supported by Demelza, those who wanted to raise money for a good cause and others who were simply looking for a fun day out with the family.

    There was an energetic warm up with Anytime Fitness, with the event started by the Mayor of Eltham Christine May and three-old Jacob and his family, who receive support from the Demelza hospice in Eltham. Compering and geeing up the crowd was compere Paul Shed from Celebtime.

    Events co-ordinator Emma Cox said: “It was a fantastic day and everyone had lots of fun in the bubbles. It was a very hot day but hundreds of people still turned out to support us for which we would like to say a very big thank you. As a charity, Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters to provide the funds that keep our services going.” 
    All bubblers were given a Bubble Rush T-shirt, a commemorative medal and a goody bag. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

    Those who missed the fun need not despair as Demelza has another Bubble Rush event coming up at Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, on Sunday 12 August. You can find out more and sign up at our Bubble Rush Kent event page

    Don't forget, you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Families enjoy fun and games at summer event

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 13, 2018

    Candyfloss, cakes and colourful characters put smiles on the faces of all of those who attended a summer family fun day for children with terminal and serious conditions and their families.

    The event was for families who use services provided by Demelza Hospice Care for Children and took place at the Metrogas Social Club in Avery Hill Road, New Eltham.

    The day was supported by Eltham Fire Station who sent an appliance and firefighters along and Lewisham Police Station who sent two officers on horseback – both much to the delight of the children attending.

    Attractions also included a coconut shy, tombolas, a dance demonstration, a bouncy castle, a treasure hunt, strawberries and cream, cakes, games and stalls. Also providing entertainment was a Power Ranger, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas.

    The event raised more than £1,100 which will help Demelza to continue to provide vital support to children and their families.

    There are lots of ways to fundraise for Demelza and with your support Demelza can continue to help create precious memories for terminally ill children and their families-you can find out more on our Fundraise for us page.

  • Volunteers help transform playground

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 11, 2018

    Children with terminal conditions will be thrilled when they see the fantastic job that volunteers have done on helping to repaint and refurbish their outdoor play area.
    The volunteers, who worked alongside members of staff, included a group from the Morrisons Distribution Centre in Sitingbourne. They spent several days at the Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, painting a wooden pirate ship in the adventure playground, as well as working on other parts of the play area.
    The Morrisons volunteers braved blazing temperatures to get the work finished on time and were pleased when the temperature cooled down towards the end of their stint.
    If your business or organisation would like to work with Demelza Hospice Care for Children then please get in touch with our corporate team on 01795 845260 or find out more at our corporate partnerships page

  • Vehicle safety firm donates £10,000

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 08, 2018
    Vehicle safety firm donates £10,000

    Staff at Demelza Hospice Care for Children were thrilled to receive a cheque for £10,000 from Brigade Electronics whose headquarters are in South Darenth, Kent.
    The vehicle safety firm selects two charities a year to support – and staff voted for Demelza to be one of the beneficiaries knowing the vital care the charity provides for children with terminal conditions and their families.

    The fundraising team at Demelza celebrated with a loud cheer when the cheque arrived at the Demelza hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent.

    Rachel Walker, Corporate Partnership Executive at Demelza, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Brigade Electronics for their donation, which will really make a difference. £10,000 will enable us to provide 565 hours of nursing to the children we care for. 

    “The support we receive from local businesses such as Brigade Electronics is such a great help to us, allowing us to continue to provide specialist care and emotional support to children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family, for as long as they have.”

    Brigade Electronics is a market leader of safety devices for commercial vehicles and plant. Brigade’s products reduce the risk of collisions and help protect vulnerable road users.

    We are always keen to work with local businesses and to establish new corporate partnerships. If you think that Demelza could be the charity of choice for your business please contact Rachel Walker by emailing Rachel.walker@demelza.org.uk or by phoning 01795 845193.

    Alternatively, to find out more, please visit our corporate partnerships page.
  • Demelza Hospice Care for Children’s commitment to GDPR

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 07, 2018
    Your privacy is our top priority here at Demelza Hospice Care for Children. The new law, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), came into effect on Friday 25 May 2018. In the media, more often we’re hearing phrases such as GDPR, data protection, opt-in consent, cookies and the right to be forgotten, but what does it all mean?

    This rapid development of new ideas and terms brought on by our new digital world can be confusing, but you should be assured GDPR is a positive thing. It’s the new law that protects your personal information. It is the most important data protection regulation change in 20 years and it became law on Friday 25 May 2018.

    It is Demelza’s responsibility to ensure that the personal data you have given us is kept safe and only used in the correct way. We have an obligation to only ever communicate with you in ways you have told us is ok and that we only talk with you about things you have said you want to hear about.

    We update our records regularly to ensure our supporters are getting the latest Hospice news, as well as information about our events and supporters.

    We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy, which you can read here, or contact our Supporter Services team on 01795 845261 for a copy to be posted to you. 

    So what has changed?
    One of the biggest changes is around obtaining consent to use personal data. The new requirement will impact how Demelza attains and renews consent, but GDPR also introduces the need to record the details for auditing purposes.

    This may mean that we will be asking you regularly if you would like to keep receiving information from us in the future. This information could be anything from information about fundraising events, details about challenges and activities you have signed up to or receiving our supporter magazine, Demelza Life.

    Other changes include:
    • A wider definition of personal data
    • New categories of sensitive personal data
    • Increased rights for data subjects

    For more information on these changes, and how Demelza uses your data, please take a look at our Privacy Policy, or for more information about GDPR, visit www.ico.org.uk 
  • Children supported by Demelza enjoy sensory garden tour

    by Paul Lawrence | Jul 05, 2018

    Young people supported by Demelza Hospice Care for Children were recently given a special preview of a new attraction at Hever Castle.

    Hever Castle and Gardens has extended its garden tours to include a specialist sensory tour. Children from Demelza were invited along to try one of the tours before anyone else, together with people supported by Kent Association for the Blind and the Macular Society.

    The sensory tour has a focus on the scent and flavours of the garden. The tour includes rose displays, the chance to enjoy tastings and demonstrations and there are also rose flavoured cakes in the restaurants.

    Vicky Tyler, a Children’s Palliative Care Assistant at Demelza, said: “We had a wonderful day at Hever Castle with two of our children. The sensory garden was fabulous with some beautiful colours, fragrances and sounds. There was something to appeal to all the senses . It was lovely for the children we took along who enjoyed a day out in the sunshine. At our hospices in Sittingbourne and Eltham we have sensory rooms but it was great for our young people to have a sensory experience outdoors.”

  • Sign up for a morning of bubbly fun

    by Joanna Blewett | Jul 04, 2018
    There’s still time to snap up tickets for an event which promises lots of bubbly and colourful fun.
    The event is the Demelza Hospice Care for Children Bubble Rush which takes place at Avery Hill Park, Greenwich, on Sunday 15 July. There’s a warm up at 10.45am with participants setting off at 11am. Participants go twice around a 2.5 km route running through walls of 4ft high bubbles.
    Demelza has a children’s hospice in Eltham, South East London and another in Sittingbourne, Kent. All money raised will help to enable Demelza to care for children with terminal conditions across South East London and Kent as well as East Sussex where the charity provides care in the community. One Bubble Rush event has already taken place this year in Brighton and another is to be staged at Maidstone, Kent, later this summer.
    Tickets for the fun-filled attraction in Greenwich are £10 for a child and £20 for an adult, or £60 for a family ticket (for two adults and up to three children). Registration is from 10am.
    Find out more on our events page here