• 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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 User Not Found | 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
  • Demelza welcomes a new Chair.

    by Joanna Blewett | Jul 03, 2018
    David Highton took up the position at the end of June following the charity’s annual general meeting, taking over from Sarah Phillips, who had served two terms, or six years.
    David is also Chair of the Trust Board at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, a position he has held since May 2017. 
    He was previously Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Public Health in Qatar from 2016 and also Executive Director of Corporate Development at Hamad Medical Corporation, the main public hospital provider in Qatar, for six years.
    Prior to moving to Qatar, David worked in the independent health sector, including being Director of his own consulting company and heading up business development for an acute home healthcare provider.
    David was an NHS Chief Executive from 1991 to 2003, including the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, where he was instrumental in the creation of a new dedicated children’s hospital.
    Originally a chartered accountant, David worked in publishing, property services, the brewing industry, an industrial starches business and in the City, before joining the NHS as a Finance Director in 1990.
    David, 64, who is married and has a grown up family, has strong links with Kent, having spent his childhood in Meopham and Sittingbourne. He currently lives in Whistable. Outside of work David is a Vice President (and previously Chairman and President) of Sittingbourne Rugby Club.
    He said: “I have had a lot to do with children's health care in a hospital setting, particularly in Chelsea and in Oxford and I believe the work of Demelza is very important for the children and families which we serve. 
    “The charity has a very clear strategy to deliver more care in community settings and to increase the number of children for whom we provide care - I want to focus on enabling that strategy to be implemented over the next three years.”
  • Thrifty shoppers bag holiday bargains

    by Joanna Blewett | Jul 02, 2018
    Thrifty shoppers who are looking for some cheap but cheerful holiday clobber will be pleased to know that help is at hand.
    Demelza Hospice Care for Children charity shops across Kent, South East London and East Sussex have recently taken delivery of a brand new summer holiday range, which includes beach bags, sunhats, drinking cups, flower garlands and other accessories. The various items, which are perfect to transform any outfit or trip to the beach into something chic and fun, are selling within days of hitting the shelves, requiring frequent re-stocks.
    Pictured are four Demelza shop managers from across the region modelling the range outside the Hythe High Street store. Left to right they are Fizz Dean, from Demelza’s Hailsham shop, Karen Wood from Eastbourne, Shirley Loetz from Battle and Michelle Stanford from Hythe.
    Rachel Stead, Demelza’s Shops Operations Manager, said: “We have hats and bags with all different colours, patterns and designs. The ladies straw hats in particular are really popular, we can’t get them on the shelves quick enough!”
    The new merchandise is on sale now across the region.
  • A new shop for Tonbridge is coming soon!

    by User Not Found | Jun 26, 2018

    A Demelza shop is coming to Tonbridge very soon! We have just taken on the lease at 48 High St (next to Tui) and we are all steam ahead preparing for the big day.

    Staff are busy getting ready but we desperately need help from our supporters and local residents.

    Here’s how you can help…

    • Volunteer

      Your gift of time is simply priceless to Demelza.  We are already recruiting volunteers for our shop in Tonbridge and we will need plenty of shop helpers in time for launch. 

      Volunteering for Demelza Hospice Care for Children is a great way to meet new people and make friends, develop new skills and most importantly directly help to raise crucial funds for children with terminal conditions.

      Find out how you can volunteer by clicking here.

      For an informal chat about volunteering opportunities, please contact Shirley Winch, Area Manager on 07712 321392

    • Donate Stock

      Once the shop is open, we will be looking for some lovely donated stock for our shops. We welcome good quality clothing, toys, bric-a-brac and books.

      If you would like to donate before the shop opens (exact date to be announced), please drop off goods to our Shopping Outlet in Maidstone. Full details here.

      Just prior to opening we will be holding some open days at the shop when you can drop stock off directly at the shop. Keep checking back this web page for updates.

    • Shop!

    And of course, once we are open, please drop in and shop to your heart’s content…

  • Demelza has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

    by Joanna Blewett | Jun 19, 2018
    To mark the very special milestone an afternoon tea was held at the Demelza’s children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent, for invited guests. These included families of children with terminal conditions who use Demelza services, bereaved parents who have been supported in the past and long serving volunteers and members of staff.
    Also invited were trustees past and present, whose early years of fundraising made Demelza possible, corporate supporters, the families of those who have left significant legacies and trust funders. 
    The event included Lady Kingsdown presenting awards to some of Demelza’s long standing volunteers, who told them “we wouldn’t be where we are today without you”.
    Chief Executive Ryan Campbell CBE said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of Demelza Hospice Care for Children. Since opening we have helped thousands of local people and every single one of our supporters has played a part in helping us to do that and to reach this special anniversary.”
    Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with serious and terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family, for as long as they have.
    Derek Phillips, father of Demelza, the charity’s namesake, attended the celebrations. Demelza died tragically from a brain tumour at the age of 24. She had worked at a children’s hospice in Birmingham and was inspired by their work. This inspiration was passed onto her parents who had the vision to establish a children’s hospice in the South-East of England. They worked tirelessly to attract supporters and thanks to their hard work the Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne was officially opened in in June 1998.
    Mr Phillips said: “My daughter would have been thrilled to see how much has been achieved.”
    Over the years Demelza has grown and developed. As well as the children’s hospice in Sittingbourne there is also another in Eltham, South East London, which opened in 2009. Demelza has also provided a hospice at home service in East Sussex since 2004.
    Lavinia Jarrett, Demelza’s Deputy Chief Executive, has worked with the charity for more than 18 years. She said: “Over the years Demelza has grown changed and grown but still at the heart of all we do is the children and families that we care for and support.
    “We rely on our local communities to support us and we’d like to thank everyone who has contributed over the years. Without them we could not continue. Their support is vital, whether this is volunteering for us, donating goods to our charity shops, supporting the Demelza lottery or raising funds.
    “Here’s to the next 20 years of striving to meet the needs of the children, young people and families we serve.”
  • Charity Chairman retires from a truly “inspiring” place

    by Joanna Blewett | Jun 15, 2018
    The retiring Chairman of Demelza Hospice Care for Children has described her time with the charity as “inspiring and rewarding” and has said that many touching moments will remain with her forever.

    Sarah Phillips steps down at the end of June at the completion of her two three-year terms and said many of her farewells on Friday 15 June when Demelza held a celebration to mark the charity’s 20th anniversary.

    Mrs Phillips said: “My previous experience had been in charities within the fields of disability or victims of crime, but never with children.  When I was approached to chair Demelza, I saw immediately what a wonderful cause it is and was delighted to be appointed. The fact that Demelza benefits from a huge bank of volunteers  and the expertise of the amazing care team supports not just the child with a terminal illness but the extended family as well fitted with my previous roles. 

     “There are too many highlights to list but I was very proud of all the staff and volunteers when we were awarded  The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and gained a rating of ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission for the Kent Hospice 
     “I’ve enjoyed every minute and in particular seeing what a difference the charity makes to children and their families. “

    The retiring Chairman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1981 and volunteered subsequently for the MS Society at branch, regional, national and international level, becoming the first Chairman with MS of the UK Society (1998-2005) and the MS International Federation (2004-2011). From 2005 until 2011 Mrs Phillips was Chairman of Victim Support nationally. She remains a local volunteer supporting victims of crime, particularly those affected by domestic violence. Among other activities, Mrs Phillips served for 13 years as a non-executive director of an NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust in North Essex.  In 2005 she was awarded an OBE for services to disability and made a Deputy Lieutenant for Essex. Mrs Phillips lives in in East Anglia, near Colchester. 

    Ryan Campbell, Demelza’s Chief Executive, said: “We have been immensely fortunate to have had Sarah with us for the past six years. We are very grateful for the invaluable contribution she has made. Since arriving at Demelza in 2012, Sarah has established a high performing board of trustees who are deeply committed to making Demelza even more effective. Sarah will be handing over to our new Chairman David Highton and we are confident he will build on Sarah’s great work so that we can continue to meet the future needs of the children and families we support.”

    David Highton is currently Chair of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and was previously Chief Executive Officer of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust and Chief Executive Officer of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust.  
  • Nurse completes 300 mile bike ride and a marathon

    by Joanna Blewett | Jun 13, 2018

    A super fit nurse has completed a two-pronged challenge which involved a 300 mile cycle ride closely followed by a marathon.

    Melissa Day, 39, is a children’s palliative care nurse with Demelza Hospice Care for Children. To raise money for the charity she took part in the Demelza 101 Sittingbourne to Paris bike ride at the beginning of May and then ran the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of the month – raising a magnificent £1,800 to help provide vital services.

    Demelza has a children’s hospice in Sittingbourne Kent and another in Eltham, South East London, as well as providing a hospice at home care service in East Sussex. Melissa, who lives in West Malling, works at the Eltham Hospice where she is part of the care team providing specialist care and emotional support for babies, children and young people with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family, for as long as they have.

    Melissa said: “I did the two events because I love the charity I work for. I see the service we provide to families and how important it is to them.”

    The 26 mile run was Melissa’s fourth marathon which she did in the amazing time of three hours and 57 minutes. Melissa only recently discovered a love for cycling.

    As a charity, not part of the NHS, Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of its supporters to provide the funds that keep its vital services going.
    If you are inspired by Melissa’s efforts then why not take on a charity challenge yourself? Find one to suit you at: https://www.demelza.org.uk/support-us/community-events

  • Pedal power helps raise funds

    by Joanna Blewett | Jun 12, 2018
     An amazing 155 riders braved blazing temperatures on Sunday 3rd June to take part in the Demelza Hospice Care for Children Pedal for a Purpose fundraising cycle ride.
    The blue skies and lovely sunshine resulted in lots of extra riders signing up on the day, with both families and avid cyclists taking part. 
    Cyclists were able to choose from a 10 mile family route, a 52 mile classic route or an 85 mile epic route, with chip timing, so the more competitive cyclists could aim for a personal best. Others simply enjoyed a leisurely ride through the stunning Kent countryside.
    All routes started and finished at Demelza children’s hospice in Sittingbourne. 
    Katherine Cordrey, senior community fundraiser at  Demelza, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to all who took part and who have helped us raise funds to keep vital services going. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and it was perfect weather for cycling, lovely and sunny, with a bit of a breeze to keep the cyclists cool.
    “The routes were all very scenic and the epic route was quite a challenge, not only because of the distance, but also because there were a few hills. We have many fundraising events planned and hope these will be just as successful.”
    For more Demelza fundraising events for you to be involved in please visit: https://www.demelza.org.uk/support-us/challenges-and-events
  • Demelza Chief Executive awarded CBE

    by Joanna Blewett | Jun 11, 2018
    Ryan Campbell has been awarded a CBE by the Queen, in his role as Chair of the national mental health charity Mind, for services to improving mental health provision in England and Wales.

    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 provides emotional support to family members too, who by the nature of their situation may find themselves consumed by grief, anxiety and depression brought about by the unpredictability of their child’s condition and high likelihood of death in childhood. 
    In response to the news, Demelza Chairman Sarah Phillips, said: “We are thrilled that Ryan’s remarkable and ongoing commitment to mental health throughout his career, including at Demelza, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. 
    “As a children’s hospice charity, Demelza supports those who are living with the fact that their child or children will die before they do and each family member will undoubtedly face their own difficulties and stress. 
    “With Ryan at the helm, Demelza continues to do an incredible job of supporting families who would otherwise be struggling to cope. This is a thoroughly deserved honour and I know I speak for everyone at Demelza in offering my congratulations to Ryan.” 
    Ryan said: “I truly believe that people who experience mental health problems (of whom I am one) and those around them have brought about one of the most significant and positive changes in our society in our generation, in terms of the acceptance and understanding of mental health problems and the support available.  I have been part of that change, but a tiny part, a voice amongst millions.  To be associated with that movement by this award is a deeply meaningful honour.  But we are nowhere near done, we need to go much further for people with mental health problems to get the support and respect they (we) deserve and need.  For me this award is a spur to keep going.”
  • Volunteer Valerie has been here from the start

    by Tessa Paton | Jun 01, 2018
    Many of Demelza’s supporters stay with us year after year as the cause catches hold of their heart – but none more than Valerie White, who has been on board since the very beginning.

    Valerie was secretary to our founder president Derek Phillips at his architects practice when he and his wife Jennifer decided to campaign for a children’s hospice in the south east in memory of their daughter Demelza, who tragically died aged just 24. Our namesake worked at a children’s hospice in Birmingham and was a passionate advocate.

    “Derek told me about the idea, said ‘Are you in?’ and I replied ‘Yes!’ That was that!” Valerie recalled. From January 1994 Valerie was part of a small band comprising the Phillips and the board of trustees, joined by more volunteers as word of their plan spread.

    “I was the unpaid company secretary but actually everyone just did anything that was necessary,” said Valerie. “I’d be reeling off letters, doing research, arranging presentation evenings.

    “The first event we took part in was the Rochester Carnival. My husband George worked for a car dealer and he borrowed a red car which we covered with posters of clowns, and some of us dressed up in clown costumes.”

    Valerie considers herself very lucky to have taken part in the incredibly hard but successful journey that saw an idea borne out of grief turn into the bricks and mortar of the Kent hospice, designed by Derek Phillips himself.

    “To see the hospice being built, opening and progressing has been wonderful,” she said.

    Valerie ultimately became a part-time member of staff, acting as company secretary and PA to the board. She retired in 2009 – when, among her gifts, she received a volunteer registration form. “As I was the first volunteer I’d never filled one in!” she laughed.

    There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that retirement would not mean saying goodbye to Valerie. After a few months’ rest, she was back in our Sittingbourne hospice helping out in the kitchen, and she can still be found there every Monday afternoon – along with her 21-year-old granddaughter Sophie, the next generation of the family to commit to volunteering for Demelza.

    Valerie said: “I do wonder where has the time gone, it seems like it was only a couple of years ago that this all started,  but I have gained many new friends and happy memories along the way.

    “Working in the kitchen is totally different from what I did in the past, but I still see all the life and activities of the hospice. You know you are doing something to help those who really need it.”

    Lavinia Jarrett, Director of People and Resources at Demelza, said: “Valerie has been one of our many outstanding supporters and volunteers for many years and has worked tirelessly throughout to engage people locally and raise the profile of Demelza’s work. 

    “Without her commitment and that of others we simply would not be in the place we are today, supporting so many children and families nor offering the range of services we do.  We rely heavily on all our volunteers and their enthusiasm and commitment to take us forward for the next 20 years!”

    Could you spare us a few hours as a Demelza volunteer? View our volunteering vacancies here.
  • Film makers pledge their support for Demelza

    by User Not Found | May 25, 2018
    The tranquil grounds of Demelza Hospice Care for Children are to feature in a short film which looks to be destined for the Cannes Film Festival and possibly a BAFTA nomination.

    The film, called Yellow, is being made by the Film Actors Club in Maidstone and is to be shown at several film festivals this year. It was inspired by the Oscar winning short film The Silent Child. 

    In return for providing a location for some of the filming the club is to fundraise for Demelza and has also promised to shoot a corporate film for the charity, free of charge.

    Filming for Yellow took place in May at the charity’s children’s hospice in Bobbing, near Sittingbourne, away from families using the hospice - in a vacant patient room, outside in a garden and in the hydrotherapy room. 

    Yellow is a fictional film about a disabled man in a hospice trying to communicate with his carers in relation to his hidden secret of coming from another world. 

    Tessa Paton, Head of Marketing and Communications at Demelza Hospice Care for Children, said: “We were very pleased to be able to help the Film Actors Club in Maidstone with their film and we hope it will be a great success. The film crew were with us for three days and it was a pleasure to have them. Filming took place at the end of corridor so that we did not disturb any of the families using our facilities. Although one of our teenage patients was excited to find out what was going on and introduced herself and chatted with the crew.

    “We are thrilled the club is now going to fundraise for us and we greatly appreciate their support.”

    In addition to its Kent hospice, Demelza also has a hospice in Eltham, South East London and provide community support in the comfort of a child’s own home across East Sussex.

    The visiting film crew included the Maidstone club’s co-founder and head film acting coach Paul Lane, the club’s fight action and registered stunts director Adam Richards and the club’s director of film, photography and sound Kieran Henderson. Paul is a multi-award winning film director and professional film director and film acting coach. Adam is a martial arts expert and trained in Hong Kong with Jackie Chan and his team.

    He was also the stuntman for the red Power Ranger, a series which was popular in the early nineties.

    Paul Lane said: “Demelza is one of the most beautiful and inspiring places I've had the honour of connecting with. They will always be in my heart, mind and soul.”

    Demelza provides specialist care and support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family, for as long as they have. As a charity, Demelza is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of the local community to provide the funds that keep its services going. 

    To find out more about the film club’s fundraising activities for Demelza and to support the club’s efforts please visit: https://www.thefilmactorsclub.com/copy-of-fund-raiser-katrina
  • Demelza welcomes HRH The Duchess of Cambridge’s Children’s Hospice Week message

    by User Not Found | May 23, 2018

    Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge has sent a message of support to celebrate and mark Children’s Hospice Week (21-27 May) – the only week in the year dedicated to the only week in the year dedicated to raising awareness for children with terminal conditions, their families, and the people and hospices who support them.
    Demelza Hospice Care for Children is one of the charities joining The Duchess to mark Children's Hospice Week and is delighted that The Duchess has sent a special message of support for ‘Life’s Short’, the theme Children’s Hospice Week 2018. The Duchess’s support will help us reach out to families caring for children with serious and terminal conditions, so they know that help is at hand.
    The Duchess is asking everyone to join her this Children’s Hospice Week, in celebrating the remarkable and life-changing support provided by children’s hospices like Demelza. 

    In an excerpt from the message, The Duchess says:

    “The theme of Children’s Hospice Week this year is ‘Life’s Short’ and I am touched that children and young people are sharing what they love most in life and reminding us of how precious time is for everyone. By supporting Children’s Hospice Week we can help them spread joy and positivity across the UK, encouraging everyone to make the most of moments that matter…”
    “…I hope you will join me in supporting Children’s Hospice Week this year. Together we can champion the vital role that children’s hospices play in helping seriously ill children and families to have more precious moments.”

    The Duchess has generously given her support to Children’s Hospice Week since 2013.The impact over many years has been transformational, helping to raise awareness of the needs of children with serious and terminal conditions to show why they need specialist support.

    The theme of Children’s Hospice Week this year is ‘Life’s Short’ and in addition to the Duchess’s message, Demelza has been promoting the week with a video of its families sharing their #LifesShort moments that matter. 
    The video can be viewed on our Facebook page, along with a special Children’s Hospice Week competition to win an overnight stay for four at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent
    Tamsyn Clark, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Demelza said: “The Duchess’s support will mean so much to children, young people and families supported by Demelza, and will give them, and all the dedicated staff and volunteers a real boost. 
    “For children, like those supported by Demelza, “Life’s Short” has a poignant meaning: many simply do not have time to waste.
    “We hope people will join The Duchess in championing the role children’s hospices play in helping children with terminal conditions to make more moments that matter, by entering our Facebook competition and sharing their own #LifesShort moments that matter.” 

    The Duchess’s message can be viewed at Together for Short Lives’ website – the charity behind Children’s Hospice Week: 
    For your chance to enter our Children’s Hospice Week competition and win an overnight stay for four at The Big Cat Sanctuary visit our Facebook page