• Countdown to Demelza Business Awards

    by User Not Found | Apr 29, 2016
    The countdown has begun... this time next week we will be celebrating the amazing support of our corporates at our annual Business Awards at the Hilton Dartford Bridge.

    We will be announcing the winners in the following categories at the black tie do:

    Staff fundraiser of the year
    Fundraising team of the year
    Outstanding voluntary project
    Outstanding long term supporter
    Outstanding corporate supporter
    Corporate Gift in Kind

    A big thanks to NatWest for making this event possible by sponsoring it and congratulations to all the nominees - you are all winners because of the fundraising you do for ‪#‎TeamDemelza

  • Demelza shortlisted for digital award

    by User Not Found | Apr 28, 2016
    The Demelza website has been shortlisted for a Kent Digital Award.

    The site, which launched in January, is now easier to navigate, has a strong focus on imagery to capture the essence of the hospice as a positive place and of `life’ and is fully mobile optimised.

    Head of Marketing and Communications Tessa Paton explained the thinking behind the site:

    “Our primary aim was to create a user friendly site and to let emotive images of our care do the talking – with less text, better use of photos throughout and an inspiring new video at the top of the homepage.

    “We also wanted to challenge the misconception that children’s hospice care is consumed with sadness and bring our stakeholders a new site that is vibrant, colourful and captures the essence of what Demelza is all about – Life.”

    Demelza Volunteer and IT expert Simon Asselman was heavily involved in the planning and development of the new site.

    He said: “Late in 2014, I joined the marketing team to help maintain and optimise their current web site which, truth be told, was rather rudimental in appearance and somewhat cumbersome to navigate. The design was unresponsive and didn’t reflect the personality of the charity or the experiences that it offered to the community. So we sent out an invite to tender and selected new digital partners to help build a new platform that would more prominently showcase the stories of both our wonderful families and supporters.

    “Now in 2016, our new website is fresh and full of vibrancy and inspiration. The stigma associated with hospice care is blown away by intimate photos and videos that illustrate the precious moments and happy memories families have created using Demelza services.

    “The site map has been simplified and the content has been personalised - both of which ensure help is uncomplicated and quick to access. We are only at the start of our digital transformation journey but I’m extremely proud to have been involved in the creative process so far and to continue to be part of such a fabulous organisation.”

    Demelza will find out on 23 June whether it is a winner in the Website: School, Education or Charity category at the ceremony at Brands Hatch Motorsport Vision Centre in Longfield.

  • Demelza 101ers get on their bikes

    by User Not Found | Apr 27, 2016
    One hundred riders. One cause. Months of training and fundraising are over and the Demelza 101 challenge is underway.

    On a sunny but undeniably crisp morning, the hardy bunch of cyclists – long distance veterans and nervous first-timers both – gathered together at Demelza Kent in Sittingbourne, ready for the start of their 350-mile, four-day ride to Amsterdam.

    CEO Ryan Campbell, speaking on behalf of all Demelza families, staff and volunteers, thanked everyone for their amazing dedication, and exhorted them to “ride like the wind!”.

    Before setting off on the first day’s 70-mile leg to Dover, cheered on by Demelza and family supporters, some of the cyclists explained why they were taking on the challenge. See what they had to say in our video.

    To keep up with the cyclists throughout the ride, follow them on Facebook.

    • If you are inspired to join #TeamDemelza, check out the next Demelza 101 challenge.
  • Make your dog the star of the show

    by User Not Found | Apr 26, 2016
    Demelza Hospice Care for Children’s dog show, Pooches on the Prom, is returning to Folkestone on Saturday 28 May.

    The fun-filled event is a chance to show off your pet’s good looks and talent while raising funds for Demelza’s work supporting seriously ill babies, children and young people from across Kent, East Sussex and South East London.

    Families are invited to take their pooch for a bracing stroll along The Leas in Folkestone at 11am before taking part in the dog show. Held in partnership with Folkestone Festivals, there will also be a mini funfair, tombola and refreshments.

    Leila Ilkhan, Community Fundraiser for Demelza, said: “We can’t wait to welcome local dog owners and their pooches to this event again this year so they can show off their dog’s talents to the town. All funds raised on the day will help Demelza support children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families.”

    Entry per class is £2 and it is £5 to join the walk. To register your interest please call 01795 845288 or email leila.ilkhan@demelza.org.uk.
  • Support Will Writing Week

    by User Not Found | Apr 22, 2016
    Solicitors across Kent are giving up their time for free in support of Demelza Hospice Care for Children’s Will Writing week.

    The charity initiative, which this year runs from May 23 to 27, offers people the chance to have a new Will written or an existing Will updated in return for a donation to Demelza.

    This year the week is part of Children’s Hospice Week - the UK's only awareness and fundraising week for children with life-shortening conditions and their families and the palliative care services that support them.

    Whitehead Monckton which has offices in Canterbury, Maidstone and Tenderten, Hawkridge & Co which has an office in Gillingham and Thackray Williams whose offices are in Bromley, are among those giving up their time for free to make this possible.

    Supporter, Rebecca Harvey has said why she decided to be part of Demelza’s Will Writing campaign: “We have two little girls and we’ve recently moved house, so my husband and I decided we needed a Will to put things in place, should the unforeseen happen. We saw Demelza’s advert and thought we would both like to support our favourite charity and have the Will done in the process. We can now forget about it and enjoy our little family!”

    For more information about Will Writing Week or to get involved please contact Lisa Clark, Trusts, Legacies and In-Memory Fundraiser on 01795 845275 or lisa.clark@demelza.org.uk
  • Help us see off Demelza 101 riders in style

    by User Not Found | Apr 20, 2016
    Photo caption: celebrations in Paris at the end of the last Demelza 101

    It’s only one week to go until Demelza 101! Our 100 cyclists have spent months training for the 350 mile ride from Sittingbourne to Amsterdam and fundraising for Demelza Hospice Care for Children – with the total already reaching an incredible £160,000.

    “We want to give the Demelza 101 team the best possible send-off when they get on their bikes on 27 April, and are calling on families, friends, and Demelza supporters to join us at the hospice and along the first day’s route to cheer them on,” said Event Coordinator Emma Austen.

    “By signing up to this challenge, they are making an amazing contribution to the care and support we give to seriously ill children and their families in East Sussex, Kent, and South East London.”

    The cyclists will be leaving Demelza Kent in Rook Lane, Bobbing at 8.30am next Wednesday for the 65-mile ride to Dover. Supporters need to be there by 8am at the latest.

    Staff and volunteers at our High Street Whitstable shop will be encouraging shoppers to wave a flag and cheer the riders on as they pass by from around 9-10.30am.

    The team will be stopping for a well-earned lunch at the Kingsdown Road car park in Deal from around 12.30-2.30pm – and then supporters can see them off on the rest of their adventure, via Dover, Calais, Bruges and Breda, all the way to Amsterdam.

    To keep up with the cyclists throughout the ride, follow them on Facebook.

    Please note: routes are subject to change and we cannot guarantee you will see a specific rider.
  • Runners take on Brighton Marathon for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Apr 19, 2016

    Nearly 30 runners took on 26.2 miles in aid of #TeamDemelza on Sunday.

    The CEO of Demelza Hospice Care for Children Ryan Campbell (pictured) was among the runners taking part in Brighton Marathon with the charity one of the partners of the event.

    He completed the marathon in 4 hours 18 minutes.

    He said: “It was sunny and hot - not necessarily the best running weather but the coast looked beautiful and the spectators were out in force. I saw most of our runners - as they passed me!

    "The feeling of being part of a charity community, not just Demelza but all the children's hospices and other causes represented, really picked up your legs in the long home straight back from Hove.”

    Ben Smith, whose family was helped by Demelza, ran Brighton Marathon and is doing London Marathon next week as well.

    He has a very personal reason for wanting to take part as Demelza provided respite and end of life care for his sister-in-law, Catriona.

    Catriona was born with an immune deficiency. She was in and out of hospital during her life but came to Demelza’s hospice in Eltham, South East London for some treatments.

    Ben said: “We spent time there as a family. It was a nice environment. It didn’t feel medical."

    And he explained how important Demelza was to the family when the 13-year-old passed away.

    “It gave all the family comfort that the facility provided an environment to say goodbye to Catriona.”

    Catriona died on 3 March 2012 and Ben has been spurred on to fundraise for Demelza since then.

  • Kent FA appeal highlights importance of play

    by User Not Found | Apr 15, 2016

    A family using Demelza is urging people to get behind the charity’s joint appeal with Kent FA to refurbish its sensory soft play room. Hallie, five, has osteopetrosis, a rare genetic condition which means she is blind and has brittle bones. She and her eight-year-old brother Logan really enjoy the chance to play together at Demelza Kent, our hospice in Bobbing, Sittingbourne.

    “Hallie loves the soft play room, especially the ball pit and the interactive music kit,” said dad Ian Robb.

    Mum Megan Janes added: “We can’t really relax if we take them to a public play centre because we can’t let Hallie go off in case the other children knock into her. At Demelza she knows her way around the soft play room and she can have her freedom.”

    The Kent FA appeal needs schools, youth and adult football teams, and businesses throughout the county to sign up and take part in some champion fundraising activities related to the beautiful game – with prizes for those that make it to the top of the league.

    As well as refurbishing the soft play room, the appeal aims to fund a
    team of nurses to provide around the clock care to children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

    The importance of making play facilities accessible to children with complex needs is highlighted in a report by Sense, the charity for deafblind and sensory impaired people.

    Following a public inquiry into the provision of play services for children with multiple needs, the report concluded that lack of access means they miss out not only on having fun but on emotional, social and physical development.

    Demelza’s Director of Care, Beth Ward, said: “A lot of the work we do at Demelza is about giving the children in our care the chance to live a full life – and that means being able to have fun like any other child.

    “For them, the soft play room is somewhere to have a great time, but for their families and our care team it’s also an important therapeutic resource. That’s why we are so grateful to Kent FA for supporting its refurbishment.”

    Check out the Kent FA Appeal fundraising packs and fun resources to help get you started by clicking here

  • Demelza marathon challenger ready to run with celebrities

    by Tessa Paton | Apr 13, 2016
    A Demelza fundraiser will be seeing stars when he takes part in the Virgin Money London Marathon this month.

    Father-of-two Ged Longworth will be surrounded by celebrities as he embarks on the epic 26.2mile race on Sunday 24 April.  

    The 33-year-old from Days Lane, Sidcup is the lucky winner of one of eight upgrades to the star-studded Green Start.

    Ged will be hoping to capture selfies with the likes of Kent Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes MBE and Radio 2 Presenter Chris Evans, who is a familiar face at Demelza.

    The Green Start is the smallest place to begin the race so once the gun fires, Ged is hoping to be over the line in a flash.

    The second-time marathon runner is also looking forward to wearing his Demelza vest with pride and is aiming for a super-speedy time of under three hours 40 minutes.

    Ged said: “It means a lot to me to be able to run for Demelza, my local children’s hospice. I’m determined to raise £2,500 because the money will help to fund vital care for seriously ill children and their families. It was hard to believe I’d won the upgrade because there are so many people taking part but it’s a nice feeling knowing I will be able to get running a lot quicker and hopefully achieve my target time.”

    Ged is one of 65 #TeamDemelza runners who will be taking part in the Brighton and London Marathon this month.  

    You can support Demelza by sponsoring Ged or by taking part in your own challenge or event.
  • Hundreds take to two wheels as part of Pedal for a Purpose

    by User Not Found | Apr 11, 2016

    Hundreds of cyclists took to the road in the name of #TeamDemelza for its second Pedal for a Purpose event.

    Demelza's cycling event took place on Sunday (10 April) starting and finishing at Sittingbourne Greyhound Track.

    There were three different routes to choose from family (10 miles); classic (52 miles) and epic (103 miles) with around 400 people taking part.

    Steve and son Scott Edmed, aged 11, were the first cyclists to complete the family route which went along the roads and cycle paths near Sittingbourne.

    Steve, from Wormshill, said: “It was really down to my son because he was interested in doing it and he loved every minute and he thought it was good fun. He’s quite a confident cyclist.”

    The father and son duo raised around £170 and intend to do the ride next year.

    The event was also attended by lots of cyclists in training for the Demelza 101 Sittingbourne to Amsterdam bike ride which sets off later this month.

    All participants were given a medal on completion and children who joined were given a Demelza Dotty wristband.

    Click here to see more pictures from Pedal.

    Demelza Events Coordinator Emma Austen said: “Thank you to all our amazing riders who took part in Pedal – we were certainly lucky with the weather! We hope everyone enjoyed it as the three different routes aimed to appeal to everyone. Special thank yous to Quick Release Cycling Club, MK Cycling, Dole Fresh, McDonalds, Conyer Quay - Swale Marina, Headcorn Parish Council, Carpet Direct and the Sittingbourne Greyhound Stadium for their support. Keep an eye out for details of next year's Pedal for a Purpose."

  • The sky's the limit when Brian turns 70

    by User Not Found | Apr 07, 2016

    A fearless fundraiser celebrated his 70th birthday in style by jumping 12,000ft from a plane to raise vital funds for Demelza.

    Brian Denny decided to mark the special occasion by doing the skydive at Headcorn Aerodrome at the beginning of April, raising £600.

    Brian said: “I wanted to do something big to mark turning seventy. It was a brilliant experience and I would do it again tomorrow.”

    You can still donate to Brian’s fundraiser by visiting his justgiving page here: www.justgiving.com/Brian-Denny

  • Over 30 runners taking on 26 miles for #TeamDemelza

    by User Not Found | Apr 04, 2016

    Over 30 runners will be taking part in the London Marathon in aid of Demelza later this month.

    Ben Smith is running Brighton Marathon on 17 April and London Marathon on 24 April after Demelza provided respite and end of life care for his sister-in-law, Catriona.

    Catriona was born with an immune deficiency. She was in and out of hospital during her life but came to Demelza SEL in Eltham for some treatments.

    Ben said: “We spent time there as a family. It was a nice environment. It didn’t feel medical”.

    And he explained how important Demelza was to the family when the 13-year-old passed away.

    “It gave all the family comfort that the facility provided an environment to say goodbye to Catriona.”

    Catriona died on 3 March 2012 and Ben has been spurred on to fundraise for Demelza since then.

    He said: “After that experience I wanted to do some running for Demelza.”

    The 37-year-old from Sidcup has been running for about 10 years and has done about 16 marathons already:

    He explained: “You either do one and never do them again or do one and just keep doing them. It’s a good way of keeping fit.”

    Among the other 33 runners taking part is Catherine Shearer, a house mistress and teacher at The Kings School in Canterbury.

    It is Catherine’s first marathon and she has the backing of her class who have done lots of fundraising for Demelza in the past. Each tutor group will be running a marathon between them over the weekend of the London Marathon. That is seven marathons over the course of the weekend in total including Catherine’s.

    Catherine (pictured) said: “It was my decision to support Demelza when I first took over Broughton House for a few reasons. Firstly I used to read a column in the local newspaper by a young lady called Nicole who promoted Demelza and highlighted what a special charity it is. I was fortunate to visit an open evening with a couple of my students and this was reinforced. The girls were inspired by the visit too and it was evident that every penny raised went into something beneficial. Since then, we have developed this relationship and would like to continue to do so.”

    Stephen Smith is taking on Brighton and then London Marathon a week later.

    He says: “The Brighton Marathon for me in 2015 was extremely tough but with my thoughts on raising funds for Demelza it kept me going. During the Brighton Marathon I collapsed due to a chest infection. After treatment at mile 25 for three hours I still got up and finished the last mile. What I did was nothing to what Demelza stands for in helping families every day to bring a little sparkle into their lives.

    “Did the experience of what happened to me put me off? No, I am now preparing to raise more awareness for Demelza by completing Brighton Marathon on 17 April, then the following week, 24 April the London Marathon. 

    “I am totally focused to do my best and finish both marathons by proudly crossing the line with my Demelza vest on. I look forward to seeing familiar faces as we take on the challenge!” 

    Naomi Saxon from Crowborough, East Sussex is also taking on 26 miles for #TeamDemelza.

    She said: “I first came across Demelza at the Penshurst Craft fair in 2015, where the representative from the charity was talking passionately about the work the charity do and encouraging people to sign up to the weekly lottery.  I was hugely moved and inspired upon hearing how Demelza support children and their families through what must be incredibly difficult circumstances.  I signed up to the lottery straight away. 

    “Following this I started to think about other opportunities to fundraise.  I have always wanted to do a marathon and saw a potential opportunity to raise more money for Demelza at the same time as fulfilling a personal goal.  I feel both privileged and excited about running the 2016 London Marathon.”

  • Nice warm feelings and very, very sore legs

    by Ryan Campbell | Mar 28, 2016

    As a charity, Demelza spends a lot of its time raising funds, and as a charity chief executive I spend a lot of my time involved in fundraising.  I love it; it’s honourable, fun and amazingly worthwhile work. 

    In some ways our fundraising is very sophisticated – we have a turnover of £10m after all, the majority of which comes from fundraising of one kind or another. We know the profit ratios of our charity shops, we organise amazing events as expertly as any private company etc. But when it comes down to it, raising funds is still the simple thing it always was – nice people making it possible for us to do really, really nice things that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Literally making the world a better place.

    Whether those nice people are individuals who press the ‘donate’ button at the top of this webpage, or include us at the bottom of their Wills, or donate furniture to our shops, or organise a summer garden party, or the nice people in companies who get their companies to sponsor us, the act of giving or raising money for charity is a wonderful and civilised human thing to be celebrated. 

    In a world where the bleakness can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, the fact that Demelza exists purely by virtue of thousands of people’s individual acts of niceness, is a bit of an antidote. It is for me anyway, and it certainly is for the children with life-limiting conditions and their families who rely on us. They rely on the generosity of those thousands of people.

    Fundraising is getting harder however. It has picked up a bit of a tarnished reputation, with some poor fundraising practices in some charities quite rightly receiving press attention, and of course with the difficult economic climate putting pressure on people’s purses. It is getting harder for Demelza. Our incredible fundraisers, most of whom are volunteers, are having to work harder and harder.  But harder and harder they work.

    I’m doing the Brighton marathon in a few weeks. I’ll be rubbish and I’ll cripple myself, but I’ll be so proud to be finishing with (or more likely, after) our team of volunteer fundraisers, some of whom are also part of our team running the Virgin Money London Marathon the following week. And those are just two of the hundreds and hundreds of things people do for us every year to ensure we’re still here the year after.

    As Chief Executive of Demelza, I’m proud of charity. So I’m proud to be a fundraiser. And unashamed of it. So, errm, if you can, can you give us some money? If you do, I promise we’ll turn it into something very special – just have a read of some of the parent and young person stories on this website if you want to know the sort of thing.  It’ll make you feel nice.

  • Being an apprentice at Demelza is "exciting and valuable."

    by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2016
    This week is National Apprenticeship Week and we have been seeing the benefits of apprentices since we launched our scheme in 2014. 

    Sophie LaHaye (pictured above) was our first apprentice, working in the HR team. It was such a success that Sophie went on to get a full-time job as an HR assistant at the end of the scheme.

    She says:  “My time spent as a HR Apprentice at Demelza was really exciting and valuable. I have learnt so much and everyone has really helped me to develop my knowledge and skills. I was made to feel so welcome and fitted straight into #TeamDemelza ”

    Following on from this success Leah Akhurst started as an apprentice in the lottery team.

    Leah says:  “My apprenticeship at Demelza has given me the opportunity to enhance my skills and develop my confidence in the workplace.”

    We hope to continue to offer apprenticeship placements in the future and offer the opportunity for individuals to grow and develop their skills in the workplace.

    Director of People and Resources, Lavinia Jarrett said: “Demelza must grow our skills in all areas and Apprenticeships are a fantastic ways to achieve this.”                

  • What an egg-cellent idea

    by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2016

    Companies, community groups and schools can help give families at Demelza an egg-stra special Easter.

    Download our egg-cellent poster to donate money for craft materials so our children can make colourful decorations and cards. Choose your egg and pay £1 – and don’t forget to add your name to be in with the chance of winning a prize.

    Claire Ellis-Waghorn, Demelza’s Head of Fundraising, said: “Getting busy with the paint and glitter is a lovely way for youngsters who cannot eat chocolate to share in some Easter fun.

    “We are so grateful to everyone who thinks of the children we care for at special occasions during the year – your support really does make a difference.”

    Once you have filled in the poster, please send it in with a cheque and your group details to Demelza Hospice Care for Children, Demelza House, Rook Lane, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME9 8DZ.

  • Volunteer Maggie recognised for gentle touch

    by User Not Found | Mar 15, 2016

    maggie allen awardDemelza massage therapist Maggie Allen has been named runner-up in the Volunteer of the Year category of the Kent Charity Awards 2016.

    The annual awards showcase the hard work that charities and voluntary groups do throughout the county to make the lives of others better.

    For the past 16 years, Maggie has offered professional massage therapy to the children with life threatening  and life limiting health conditions who use Demelza.

    Her support is there for families too, who, after traumatic hospital treatment or faced with the approaching loss of their child, may be worried about holding them. Maggie has also recently begun outreach sessions for older children and their parents in their own home, offering a compassionate listening ear and acting as a gateway to other Demelza services, such as family support, counselling and art therapy.

    Lynne Clark, Demelza’s Head of Voluntary Services, said: “Maggie not only offers the touch of acceptance, she also offers a space where children and families can let go, knowing that she will be with them as the journey ahead of them unfolds.

    “Like all our volunteers, Maggie plays a vital part in Demelza’s work, for which we are hugely grateful. We’re delighted that she has been recognised in the Kent Charity Awards.”

    The awards were presented at a gala dinner at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on 10 March.

    Find out more about our family services here.

  • Demelza Art Therapist wins prestigious award

    by Stuart Hubbard | Mar 11, 2016

    The ‘hard work and creativity’ of a Demelza art therapist have been officially recognised through a prestigious award.

    Josie Mahoney scooped top prize in the Creative Counselling Initiative of the Year category at the Towergate Care Awards on Thursday 10 March.

    Josie, who joined Demelza as a student and has been a qualified art therapist for two years, impressed judges with her innovative and caring ways of supporting seriously ill babies, children and young people.

    Her work has been welcomed by bereaved families even at the most painful of times, by offering them prints of their baby’s hands and feet for treasured memories.

    For primary aged children affected by medical procedures, Josie gives them a confidential space where they can express the feelings they find difficult putting into words through art.

    With older children, as well as using a variety of art materials such as soft clay for those with weak muscle tone, Josie also uses Eyegaze for those with very minimal movement. This equipment allows the children to draw or paint electronically by making choices with moving eyes to indicate colour and shape. Parents are often moved to tears as they see their child producing images independently.

    Demelza Therapy Services Manager Jane O’Neill, who nominated Josie for the award, said: “Josie is very deserving of this award. It recognises all her hard work, creativity and innovation to meet the needs of our families. Josie has also introduced therapy dolls at Demelza and is supervising art therapy students. We’re very proud of her.”

    The awards, which are in the first year, celebrate unsung heroes and excellence across the care industry and were held at The Berkeley Hotel in London.

    Josie was presented the glass accolade by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips and given a £500 Red Letter Day voucher.

    Josie said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to receive this award. I had no idea I had been nominated until a week before. For me it’s all about making sure that art is accessible to all children, no matter what their condition or illness.”

  • Musicians are top of the pops

    by User Not Found | Mar 08, 2016

    A band of music-loving friends from Sittingbourne are busy planning their next annual fundraiser for Demelza.

    Dave Lee and his partner Sandy Thomas have been raising money for us for the last 16 years, getting musicians together for the yearly Demelza Showtime event at UKP Leisure. In total they have donated an incredible £46,695.

    Dave, who sings and plays keyboards for The Rebounds, pictured below in the 1960s,  said: “It started as a one-off but we all enjoyed ourselves so much and Demelza is such a good cause that we continued, and some years it’s been so popular we’ve had to put on two shows.

    Dave Lee The Rebounds“Most of the musicians involved are busy with their own gigs, but they all try to keep the date free for us.”

    Making Demelza Showtime go with a swing is an all-year-round occupation for the couple and other organisers including Frank Boswell, who runs Ebenezers Barbers in Sittingbourne, and Master of Ceremonies Peter Day.

    “We have no costs – everything is donated, from people’s time to raffle gifts to the venue, thanks to UK Paper,” said Dave.

    This year’s Showtime on Sunday 27 November will feature The Rebounds and other local groups’ members playing hits from the 1960s onwards, plus Sittingbourne choir Opus 32, the Invicta Jazz Orchestra and Sue Barnes singing musical theatre favourites.

    Demelza Community Fundraiser David Holmes said: “We are extremely fortunate to have local supporters who have really taken Demelza to heart, and none more than the Showtime team.

    “To raise so much money over such a long period of time is a tremendous achievement for which we are enormously grateful.”

    Would you like to join our band of fundraising supporters? Find out how here.

  • Art attack: Find out more about our art therapy

    by User Not Found | Mar 07, 2016

    Rachel - artist in residence (resized)Demelza offers Honorary Artist in Residence placements for those wanting to pursue a career in art therapy.

    They work alongside our Art Therapist organising creative activities for the children and young people on a voluntary basis for six months.

    We currently have an Artist in Residence at Demelza SEL and one at Demelza Kent.

    Rachel Turner who works at Demelza SEL (pictured above) says: “I attend the hospice weekly, designing activities based on themes that the staff have planned for the week. These sessions have resulted in children making elephants out of milk bottles for a jungle theme, creating a fox and badger to join the Autumn tree and aeroplanes for a travel week. The children have enjoyed these activities especially feeling the different textures of the materials used, therefore it has become a priority that each activity I plan can be adaptable for each child to enhance their sensory experience.” 

    She added: “I enjoy all aspects of my role at Demelza especially seeing the children’s reactions when working with the art materials. I hope to continue the work at Demelza, which is giving me good experience to pursue training in Art Therapy.”

    Fiona Willis is our Artist in Residence at Demelza Kent (pictured top).

    She says: “I have a degree in Visual Art and Design and would one day like to train in Art Therapy. Becoming Demelza’s Artist in Residence has enabled me to gain valuable experience working with the children and tutoring from an experienced Art Therapist.  

    “I try to match creative activities with a child’s individual needs, so no day is ever the same. Because some of the children have limited mobility, vision or hearing, sensory materials are very important in my work and offer a whole new dimension to creative crafts.  Seeing the children enjoying making art and being a part of their experience is such a privilege and something which is truly invaluable to me.”

  • Cyclists wanted to pedal for a purpose

    by User Not Found | Mar 04, 2016

    Wheeley good fun: Demelza is calling on cyclists to take to two wheels as part of a charity fundraiser.

    The second Pedal for a Purpose bike ride takes place on Sunday 10 April with the circular route starting and finishing at Sittingbourne Greyhound Track.

    There are three routes to choose from - family (10 miles); classic (52 miles) and epic (103 miles).

    More than 300 people took on the challenge last year for the first ever Pedal event.

    A place on the family route costs £10 per adult and £5 per child; classic is £20 per person and epic is £35.

    The epic route riders will make their way past Faversham and then head to Wye, round to Rye and then through Benenden, Sissinghurst, Headcorn and back to Sittingbourne via Harrietsham, Bredgar and Borden.

    Those on the classic route will also start towards to Faversham and then head to Charing, Pluckley, Smarden and Headcorn and then back via Harrietsham, Bredgar and Borden.

    The family route is a gentle route along roads and cycle paths near Sittingbourne.

    All participants will be given a medal on completion and children who join in will be given a Demelza Dotty wristband.

    Riders on the longer two routes receive a chip for their helmets to record their time and there will be food stops and participants on all courses will have access to a mobile mechanic if needed.

    Demelza Nurse Helen Rolls who took part in the family route last year said: “Pedal for a purpose was something that I could do with my family, including the children. There was a lovely atmosphere and lots of laughter. The camaraderie was excellent which included being helped up when fell off my bike and I couldn’t get up for laughing.”   

    Demelza Events Coordinator Emma Austen said: “Pedal for a Purpose is back for a second year and we would love you to join us to help make it better than ever. With three different routes there is something for the whole family.”

    For more information or to sign up, phone Emma on 01795 845288 or email emma.austen@demelza.org.uk or click here to book