• #LearningAtWork opportunities all year round at Demelza

    by User Not Found | May 16, 2017
    It’s National #LearningAtWork this week, but learning, training and personal development are all topics that are taken very seriously all year-round at Demelza. 

    Helen Rolls, our Nursing Care Coordinator commented that training “makes all the difference in being prepared and being in a better position to offer that first-class service, rather than muddling through and taking someone in when you’re not upskilled to do it.”

    As well as having a dedicated Learning and Development Manager, Demelza also boasts a Governance Team who are collectively responsible for workforce development across the organisation. 

    When you join Demelza access to training and development opportunities is evident from day one. We have a thorough induction programme delivered in person that really allows you to get under the skin of the organisation and understand how all of the teams at Demelza come together. This is supported by an online training package covering key issues such as Health and Safety and Data Protection. 

    The induction window for Nurses, in particular, continues for another six months, with them being supported by a mentor and taught how all the equipment works. It gives newcomers time to settle in and ensure their clinical skills are up to speed as so many children have complex needs.

    As well as personal development and skills based training, Demelza also provide excellent support for all the mandatory training that Demelza is required to provide to comply with regulatory requirements and support good practice. We also hold Lunch and Learn sessions where staff and volunteers are invited to share their skills and knowledge from perhaps outside of Demelza to the rest of the organisation. Topics have included everything from Tai Chi to Driver Awareness. 

    For line managers, Demelza runs a Leadership Development Programme for everyone who has people management responsibilities.  There are a total of 8 modules covering a wide range of subjects.

    Demelza are in the process of rolling out an Apprentice Scheme for Demelza, which follows on from the two successful Apprentice roles we have had in the past.  Sophie (pictured above) was our first apprentice and said of her experience “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 ”. We have vacancies for five non-care apprentices currently and hope to be able to offer care roles too, after the initial pilot.  Recruitment starts on 15th May, and you can register your interest with hayley.clark@demelza.org.uk  

    For ongoing interest in your personal development and opportunities to do so, Demelza see this as a key benefit in working or volunteering with them. To see more about our benefits and current vacancies, check out our website
  • Celebrating our Care Team heroes

    by User Not Found | May 12, 2017
    Friday 12th May is Nurses’ Day #InternationalNursesDay, so here at Demelza we’re taking a moment to appreciate our #nurseheroes, and in fact all of our front line staff and volunteers who provide care and support to the families with whom we work!

    Each year Demelza cares for 650 babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.  However, our aim is to reach even more children and families who need Demelza’s support.  We cannot do that without each and every staff member, volunteer and supporter that make up #TeamDemelza.  

    As today is Nurses’ Day, we would like to say a special thank you, on behalf of everyone at Demelza, to all our nurses and care team who provide specialist, round the clock care and support to our Demelza families.  We’re immensely proud of our team! 

    Our care and support teams are here every day to provide compassionate and expert care for our seriously ill children and their families – when they need it most.  

    Demelza parent Lawrence explains:  “Demelza was critical to us coping individually and as a family and if they weren’t there I’m not sure we would have.  I owe the organisation and people who work within it a debt that I will never be able to fully replay. They truly are an exceptional organisation staffed by some of the most incredible people I have ever met.”

    In our recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports, our wonderful team were also specifically mentioned for the way that they delivered our services: ““Children, young people and their families were at the heart of the service and were fully involved in the planning and review of care, treatment and support. Individual needs were met and responded to in a way that may exceed people’s expectations.”

    Whether in one of Demelza’s hospices, situated in Sittingbourne in Kent and Eltham in South East London,  or in the community with our team in East Sussex, our team are there to provide quality and effective care to enable children who may not live a long life to live a full life.  Demelza Kent’s Care Coordinator, Helen Rolls has been part of this fantastic team for the past 12 years.  

    Helen trained within the NHS, at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London and progressed to paediatric nursing at Maidstone Hospital Kent.  Helen describes her first encounter with Demelza: “I was caring for a young boy on the hospital ward, who had terminal cancer.  When he was transferred to Demelza’s hospice, he left some of his personal possessions behind so I took them up to him. When I saw the hospice, I realised this was what I really wanted to do – to give these children that special kind of care.”

    Through the years Helen has been able to benefit from the different style of care which children’s hospices can offer: “The job is more emotional but more fulfilling than hospital nursing.
    You feel you’ve done a better job, a proper job in the time that you need to do that job - and that you’ve helped make someone else’s life better.  As nurses we want to provide holistic care but I don’t think I actually provided holistic care until I came to Demelza, because there simply isn’t time on a ward.”

    And just what makes the role of a Demelza nurse so special?  Helen explains: “I feel extremely privileged to work for Demelza, I have time to provide one-to-one, personalised care to families and truly feel part of a team. We help families create precious memories.”

    Helen is just one shining example of our outstanding #TeamDemelza!  If you think you could be one of our #nurseheroes then check out how you can work with us

    Or join us at one of our Nurse Recruitment Events to speak to our nurses about what it’s like to be part of #TeamDemelza, and tour our facilities and see what our residential buildings have to offer to children, young people and their families, as well as find out more about the wider support and therapies we offer.

    Events are being held on:
    Friday 2 June
    Demelza South East London
    2pm and 6pm

    Monday 19 June
    Demelza Kent
    2pm and 6pm

    To register your place please contact Hayley Clark, Learning and Development Manager – hayley.clark@demelza.org.uk, 01795 845203

    Of course, since Demelza is a charity, not part of the NHS, we are reliant on generous donations from local individuals, groups and businesses so that we are able to provide care free of charge to families. There are various ways in which you can help to fundraise for us, from bucket collections, to holding events, to participating in our challenges, leaving a contribution in your will, either as an individual, with your family and friends or via your workplace
  • The Axis foundation boost Demelza’s ‘adopt a nurse’ initiative with a £54,000 donation

    by User Not Found | May 11, 2017
    Demelza Hospice Care for Children’s ‘Adopt a Nurse’ initiative has had a huge boost with a £54,000 donation from The Axis Foundation, the charity arm of property maintenance and services provider Axis. The cheque was presented to Demelza, following a golf day at the London Golf Club, and is the equivalent to 2,680 hours of nursing care. 

    Axis’ longstanding partnership with Demelza started 13 years ago.  During this time £600,000 has been donated to support the charity’s ‘Adopt a Nurse’ programme. This programme helps to fund qualified nurses to provide Demelza children with 24-hour specialist care, which is key in providing them with a better quality of life.  As a charity, not part of the NHS, these charity partnerships are vital.  Demelza is reliant on generous donations from local individuals, groups and businesses to be able to provide care free of charge to children and young people, affected by life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

    The short breaks, family support services, therapies and end-of-life care that Demelza provides across East Sussex, Kent and South East London are crucial for the children and families who depend on them.

    Demelza Parent Mette explained: “As well as memory-making and emotional support Demelza also gave practical help - from the community nursing team making phone calls and liaising with various agencies, to staff at the hospice tackling paperwork. We didn’t need to worry about the cooking, cleaning, washing - we could just focus on Thomas.” 

    The Axis Foundation funds are raised through an annual corporate donation and corporate events such as a charity ball and supplier golf day. Axis people are also heavily involved in personal fundraising through activities that range from skydives and bake sales to Dotty Days and abseils, and are always thinking of new ways to raise funds for the hospice. 

  • Swale partnership goes from strength to strength

    by User Not Found | May 11, 2017
    Demelza has been working in partnership with Swale Heating since 2010 when Swale Heating, as a local Sittingbourne based business, began serving our boilers free of charge at both our Sittingbourne and Eltham Hospice. 

    Since then our partnership has done nothing but grow and flourish with Swale Heating going on to add Demelza’s famous clown logo to all of their vans and marketing materials, helping to raise our profile around Kent and South East London. 

    Most recently though Swale Heating blew us away with their offer to donate £26,000-worth of their own air-time to us, allowing Demelza our first ever opportunity to advertise on TV. The ad which began airing in February showed during such programmes as The Chase, Judge Rinder and Tipping Point. You can view the age at the top of this page. 

    At a wrap party to celebrate the end of the six-week trial run, Demelza CEO Ryan Campbell said: “A massive thank you to Swale Heating for giving us this amazing opportunity. It’s been fantastic for reaching new families and supporters. This is the first time Demelza has advertised on television and we are enormously grateful to Swale Heating.”

    Since the first ad aired it has been seen on average 42,000 times per week, achieving a three-fold increase in family self-referrals to Demelza. The advert has allowed us to reach new audiences as well as new families, increasing our profile and allowing everyone out  there to truly see and understand what it is that we do. This is all down to the wonderful support of Swale Heating.  

    Following the three month trial period we have now formed an ongoing agreement with Swale Heating, with them continuing to gift approximately £9,000 a month to Demelza for television ad slots. 

    We have many more plans in the pipeline too with this big partner, from growing our London Campaign and working together on our social presence. 

    Watch this space for more Swale Heating and Demelza news! 

    To find out more about Swale Heating check out their website

  • Today is World Hand Wash Day

    by User Not Found | May 05, 2017
    Today is World Hand Wash Day, and to acknowledge it we thought we'd offer you this handy guide as to how you can wash your hands more effectively. 

    At Demelza, we have to take hygiene very seriously, and are lucky to have an expert in this very area - our Care Coordinator, Helen Rolls.

    Helen has kindly put together this video how-to-guide on the importance of hand washing and how you can do a better job of it in as little as 15 seconds. 

    Here are some fun facts for you: 

    Germs from flushing the toilet can travel up to 6 feet!
    Every time a toilet is flushed and the lid is left up, a fine aerosol mist is sprayed into the air that contains all types of bacteria causing diseases. It can then be inhaled or deposited on your clothes, creating a potential mobile source of infection.

    1 in 5 people don’t wash their hands effectively. Sadly of those who do wash their hands, only 30% use soap. It is recommended 15-20 seconds of vigorous handwashing with soap and water to effectively kill germs, but only 5% of people wash their hands for 15seconds or more. The result – faecal matter including bacteria such as E-Coli can be found on just over a quarter of our hands.

    Mobile phones are dirtier than you think. Each square inch of your mobile contains roughly 25,000 germs making it one of the filthiest things you can come into contact with on a daily basis.

    So check out our video, and please wash your hands regularly to help us keep our work environment as clean from germs as possible.
  • Family fun day in memory of Florence

    by User Not Found | Apr 26, 2017
    The family of a three-month old baby girl who spent her final days at Kent’s Demelza Hospice are holding a bumper Family Fun Day to raise funds for the charity and others who helped to care for her.

    Little Florence Eva Brockman was born on December 15 at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, with just one lung, one kidney and two holes in her heart.  When she was four days old, her parents Jack and Bianca, from Canterbury, learned she had a life-threatening, critically narrow airway. 

    Florence spent 12 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit in the Evelina Children’s Hospital before being transferred to Demelza, near Sittingbourne, where she spent her final days.

    Jack (22) said: “Florence proved a lot of professionals wrong – they couldn’t understand how she was alive, but she fought and fought until enough was enough. 

    “She sadly fell asleep at Demelza on March 14. She was and always will be our inspiration.” 

    Bianca (20) said: “We are unbelievably grateful to have had almost three months with our beautiful baby girl. If it wasn't for the staff at Evelina and Demelza, this wouldn't have happened.”

    Demelza’s Hop Garden is a bereavement suite where families can stay with their children and family friends and relatives were able to visit Florence to spend precious moments with her, both before and after her passing.

    Florence’s aunt Jasmine Brockman said: “Demelza allowed Florence and all of us in her family to spend absolutely amazing moments with her in her last hours on this earth.  We all pushed her in her pram around their beautiful gardens, something her parents had longed for. It was nothing like a hospital and the staff made us all feel welcome and helped us to say goodbye to our beautiful princess. Those moments were so precious and have given us lasting memories. We are just so grateful to Demelza for giving us that time.”  

    The family is now organising an action-packed activity day at Chartham Village Hall and the adjacent Memorial Field, on Sunday June 18 to raise funds for Demelza, Evelina and the Ronald McDonald charity which enabled Bianca and Jack to stay close to Florence in hospital.

    The fun starts at 10am, with a bouncy castle, face painting, pony rides, characters in costume, a raffle, tombolas and games for all ages.  Dozens of stallholders and businesses have already offered their support.

    If anyone would like to donate items for the raffle and tombola or to get involved in any other way, call 07525 761816.

  • Ashford Friends raise £10,000 for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Apr 18, 2017
    Demelza is looking for new supporters - especially in the Ashford area - following the retirement of a sterling bunch of local ladies.

    The Ashford Friends Group has raised £10,000 for the charity in the past four years by holding coffee mornings, cake sales, quizzes and an assortment of other events, including selling quilts and other hand-sewn goods at craft fairs. 

    Their efforts in the past year alone have brought in a much-needed £3,000 for Demelza.

    Now the ladies – led by Eileen Wilson, Hilda Durrant and Joan Dudley (pictured left to right) - are putting away their sewing baskets and needles along with their coffee cups.

    Eileen said: “We have had great fun meeting up to chat and sew and sell things to raise funds for Demelza, but we are not getting any younger and a couple of us have health problems, so we felt now was the right time to stop.”

    Community fundraiser Leila Ilkhan said: “These ladies have been amazing over the past four years – their support has been fantastic.

    “Unfortunately, they are going to leave a big hole in our fundraising in the Ashford area so we would be delighted to welcome anyone on board who would like to help with our fundraising efforts. 

    “We don’t expect them to climb mountains or run marathons – coffee mornings, book sales, bric-a-brac sales, raffles  – all those small events can add up to a big total at the end of the year.”

    If a group of friends – or a workplace group – would like to volunteer to help Demelza in Ashford or any other part of the South East, they should contact Leila on Leila.ilkhan@demelza.org.uk or telephone the fundraising team on 07825 094777
  • Spectacular support from Sunshine Girls

    by User Not Found | Apr 18, 2017
    A group of Dover fundraisers have donated more than £74,000 to Demelza.

    The Sunshine Girls – who started out as a local darts and skittles team - have raised £10,000 for Demelza in the past year – bringing the total raised in 20 years of fundraising to an amazing £74,000!

    The Sunshine Girls, headed up by Cess Crascall, used to meet at the former Churchill’s Club, but since its closure regularly hold fundraising events at The Bull Inn, in Dover’s London Road.

    They also organise coffee mornings, cake sales and weekly raffles and take part in the annual Boxing Day Dip in the English Channel.

    The Sunshine Girls’ support for Demelza began the year the Kent hospice was opened -  in 1998.

    Cess explained: “My husband Robert lost his brother Johnnie to cancer, aged just 42. We could see the hospice for children being built and it was close to home, so we decided it would be a good cause to support.”

    Not content with notching up £74,000, the group is set to continue raising vital funds for Demelza in the coming year. 

    Kirk Bennett, the son in law of one of the Sunshine Girls, is joining the brave 15 taking part in the Demelza Wing Walk on July 1, while some of the other Sunshine Girls intend to walk from Demelza’s Canterbury charity shop to Dover, dressed only in their ‘onesies.’ 

    Cess, her daughter Amy and son-in-law Shep are also hoping to walk the 50 kilometres between Demelza’s Eltham hospice and the Sittingbourne hospice as part of the Demelza ‘Walk this Way’ challenge.

    Community fundraiser Leila Ilkhan said: “This amazing bunch of ladies have been huge supporters of Demelza from the start and there seems to be no end to their stamina and determination to do daring deeds to raise money for us! We are so grateful for their support – it makes such a difference to the lives of our families.”

    If anyone would like to organise their own event in support of Demelza, please contact Leila on 07825 094777.  Details of all Demelza’s other fundraising events can be found here

  • Give your quidz to help Demelza's kidz

    by User Not Found | Apr 15, 2017
    Have you had your first new pound coin yet?

    If so, Demelza is asking you to donate it to our #Quid4Kids appeal to help make life a little happier for our children and their families in Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

    The new 12-sided £1 coin came into circulation on March 28, with the old £1 round pound ceasing to be legal tender on October 15.
    Demelza is asking you to donate your £1 coins – both old and new - between March and September to help raise vital funds to help with the care of our babies, children and young people with a life-limiting illness.

    There are four ways you can get involved:-

    Numero Uno – Be a number one supporter and donate your first NEW £1 Coins. Donate online at www.demelza.org.uk/donate.  

    Quids in – use the distinctive Demelza ladybird coin card holders to donate your old £1 coins. Available from fundraising@demelza.org.uk or call us on 01795 845288

    B Smart – Fill sweet tubes with your old £1 coins and send us your donation.

    Bunny Money - Donate £1 for every Easter egg you buy for your friends and family to Demelza during April. 

    And don't forget to share #quid4kids on social media and encourage your friends and family to get involved too!  
    So, as we say farewell to our 30-year old £1 round pound, spare a few quid for our kids – it will make a massive difference to enriching their lives.

    Thank you!
  • Chairman's Cycle Challenge hits the road for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Apr 12, 2017
    An enthusiastic clutch of cyclists from construction company Osborne’s took on the ‘Chairman’s Cycle Challenge’ to raise funds for Demelza.

    With a target of £12,000, the riders saddled up for a 25, 50 or 75-mile cycle sprint through the leafy lanes of Sussex and the South Downs – despite a day of appallingly inclement weather.

    Osborne, with offices in London, Reigate and the Midlands, was founded 50 years ago by Geoffrey Osborne and has grown to become one of the country's leading
    construction companies. The challenge was set by current Chairman Andrew Osborne as part of the company’s half-century celebrations.

    Mr Osborne said: “We see our 50th birthday as the perfect occasion to give something back and leave a legacy for the communities within which we work.”

    The cycle challenge combined two of the company’s objectives – of offering a physical but fun challenge for employees, their families and those with whom they work and to finance a community project with Demelza.

    Employees from Osborne’s offices throughout the country threw themselves wholeheartedly into the challenge and everyone who took part made it to the finish at Chichester College where the Sports Centre team, brilliantly organised by Mark Forder, got everyone showered, cleaned and changed before supplying them with some very welcome hot food. 

    The total raised is now well over £9,000 with funds still rolling in to the Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OsborneChairmansCycleChallenge.

    Demelza's Head of Fundraising Claire Ellis-Waghorn said: “Our corporate supporters are vitally important to the work we do with our families at Demelza and we are very grateful to all Osborne’s friends and families who sponsored the participants to raise this magnificent amount.

    “We hope to release details of how the money will be spent in due course – we have something very special in mind!”
  • Can you help us shape our communications?

    by User Not Found | Apr 11, 2017
    At Demelza we really value feedback and viewpoints from our staff, volunteers, supporters and the public. We are currently are looking for people who would be willing to participate in some focus groups that will help us to shape our marketing and fundraising activities. The focus groups will take place in Tunbridge Wells, Eltham and Sittingbourne on dates throughout May. 

    If you would be interested in attending please could you email us at comms@demelza.org.uk

  • TV ad's widespread success

    by User Not Found | Mar 27, 2017
    Demelza’s first TV advert has beamed the charity’s work into thousands of homes throughout London and the South East.

    Our first TV advertisement – made possible thanks to airtime donated by Swale Heating – is believed to have reached up to half a million viewers during its initial six-week run.

    As well as raising invaluable funds to help with the care and therapy work with children and families, by asking people to text MEMORIES to 70660, it gave a massive boost to our profile within the ITV London and Meridian regions.

    During the advert’s run, a number of new families self-referred to Demelza and the resulting press publicity reached more than 1.89 million people.

    At a wrap party to celebrate the end of the six-week run,Demelza CEO Ryan Campbell said: “A massive thank you to Swale Heating for giving us this amazing opportunity. It’s been fantastic for reaching new families and supporters.”

    “This is the first time Demelza has advertised on television and we are enormously grateful to Swale Heating.”

    Demelza children who took part in the advert joined in the party fun, including 11-year old Caitlin, from Maidstone, who recorded the voice-over for the 30-second commercial – reciting a moving poem which included lines about how Demelza helps her own family.

    Swale Heating donated £26,000-worth of their own air-time to us, allowing the advert to be shown during such programmes as The Chase, Judge Rinder and Tipping Point.

    Swale Heating also services Demelza’s boilers free of charge and carries the charity logo on all of its vehicles.

    Swale Heating Sales Director Matthew Edwards said:  “The work the Demelza team carries out is extraordinary.”

    Viewers can still text 'MEMORIES' to 70660 to donate £3 – or donate via our website.
  • Demelza is set to build on our apprenticeships success stories

    by User Not Found | Mar 06, 2017

    This week is National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2017 and with two great success stories to date, Demelza is really pleased to be expanding its apprenticeship scheme.

    We piloted an apprenticeship scheme in 2014 and took on two apprentices at Demelza. 

    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 and now leads on all of our recruitment.

    She says:  “Following on from last year, I have taken on the role as Recruitment Lead for Demelza. Going back to the start of the apprenticeship, I never thought I would have progressed so far and into a position that I love so much. Every day is different and each week brings new challenges and learning experiences.”

    Leah Akhurst then joined Demelza in our lottery team.

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

    Building on these successes, Demelza is delighted to be in the process of setting up an apprenticeships scheme which is due to be launched in the Spring of 2017. We will be looking for business administration apprentices to join our busy teams across the organisation.  To register your interest for updates about this scheme, please email your details to recruitment@demelza.org.uk, reference – Apprenticeship Scheme 2017.

  • Lifelites brightens days for Demelza children

    by User Not Found | Feb 28, 2017
    Children at our Eltham hospice are enjoying a £50,000 package of new technology and services donated by the national children’s charity Lifelites.

    Items donated included iPads and touchscreen computers installed with lots of games and other software specially designed to be accessible for children with disabilities.

    The children and young people are able to play games, be creative and communicate with their families - something which may have been impossible for them to do previously.

    The hospice also had some of their older pieces of equipment updated.
    One of these was the Magic Carpet, donated previously by Lifelites.

    This is a portable box which projects moving images on to the floor, a wheelchair or a bed, which children can interact with. This technology gives them the chance to escape the confines of their condition and play one of the many games or animations, such as playing football or splashing in the sea

    Lifelites is also providing ongoing technical support and training for the hospice staff as part of the four-year package, including training on how to use their Eyegaze.

    This allows those with limited mobility to control a computer using just by moving their eyes. By using the Eyegaze, children who struggle to communicate with their family and their carers are able to do so – often for the first time.

    Ann Fagg, Care Services Lead at Demelza South East London, said: “This very generous donation has made a world of difference to the children who use our hospice and its facilities. They are able to experience whole new environments on the Magic Carpet, while the iPads and Eyegaze enable them to communicate in new ways as well as obtain a reaction from the slightest movement by a sound or visual response.”

    Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “The magical technology we have donated can be used to play, to be creative and communicate, and enrich the lives of these children and their families, for as long as is possible. We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”

    Among the local donors was Freemason Paul Flowerday. who raised over £4,000 for the project by taking part in a Santa Run last December. Others who helped to make this project possible are the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Kent, Children with Cancer UK, the Khoo Teck Puat foundation, GamesAid and Microsoft.

  • Students get stuck in for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Feb 13, 2017

    Students from Canterbury College gave up a day of their studies to learn how Demelza helps families facing the loss of a child.

    Students from the college’s Media and Communication department decided they would pitch in and help raise some cash for Demelza – as well as awareness of the charity – when they took to the streets of the city with a bucket collection.

    On the same day, others volunteered their services in 10 of our charity shops, while others worked in the warehouse, sorting clothes, toys and other donated goods.
    More than 100 students were involved in the project, on Wednesday, February 8.

    Demelza’s Shops Operations Manager Rachel Stead said: “Volunteers play a key role in the life of Demelza. Without them, we simply couldn’t function and we are always pleased to have a spare pair of hands on board – so 100 pairs for the day were fantastic!

    “Our shop managers were nothing but complimentary of the students’ hard work and commitment to helping make the day such a success and several students have asked to register as volunteers. I couldn’t be prouder of our team in trading and of our positive relationship with Canterbury College and the students who absolutely gave their all to support Demelza.”

    This is the fourth year the college has supported Demelza on the College Community Day and head of the department Zoran Tesic said: “It’s a great way to help raise funds for Demelza whilst teaching the students some important ‘people’ skills. They learn about teamwork, the value of charitable giving whilst giving them a glimpse of the difficulties some families face."

    Digital Design and Games Development students from Canterbury College Media and Communication department have been involved in collaborating with Demelza for the last three years raising almost £8,000 through Games Tournaments. This year, a new event – a Digital Expo - will help not only raise awareness of Demelza but also celebrate the students’ work.

    Community fundraiser Leila Ilkhan said: “We are very grateful to the college and all the students who took part. This was a great team effort. If any other schools or colleges would like to follow their example, we’d love to hear from them!”

  • Demelza website is just Champion!

    by User Not Found | Feb 13, 2017
    Demelza's website has been voted the Champion of Champions in the 2017 Digital Awards.

    The site was voted the best in Kent in the schools, education and charity sector in June 2016, automatically qualifying for the Grand Final against other winners in the region.

    Demelza was one of 15 category award winners selected by public vote and one of only three awarded to Kent-based businesses at a ceremony held at the British Film Institute, on London's Southbank, on February 9.

    We fought off stiff competition from five other contenders, including Alzheimer’s Research UK, Havering College and Bishop’s Stortford College, to scoop the Champions Award, introduced for the first time this year.

    Other finalists came from Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Milton Keynes.

    The website - launched just over a year ago - was designed by Ipswich-based Itineris Ltd. with a focus on striking imagery and videos, using the banner of #ItsAboutLife
    Families who use our services, as well as staff and volunteers, all helped with the concept.

    Tessa Paton, Head of Marketing, said: “We wanted to dispel the myth that children’s hospice care is consumed with sadness, so our aim was to produce a vibrant, eye-catching site which captured what Demelza is all about – life. We have allowed the emotive images of our children and our care to do the talking and are absolutely delighted that we have received recognition with both of these awards – first in Kent award and now across the six regions.”

  • Ooh la la! Cyclists get set for Paris!

    by User Not Found | Feb 10, 2017

    Riders are already rolling up for next year’s Demelza 101 Challenge – and the chance to cycle cross-channel from Sittingbourne to Paris.

    Almost a quarter of the 100 contenders needed have already signed up – and the challenge is still more than a year away!
    The first 101 to Paris in 2014 was a huge success, so we have decided to repeat the run – only this time, with a different route, passing through Arras, the battlefields of the Somme, and Compiegne, where the armistice between France and Germany was signed at the end of both the First and Second World Wars.

    We have asked Chapeau Events to put together a route exclusively for us and the group of cyclists will set out from Sittingbourne on May 2 2018, arriving in the French capital four days later. Chapeau Events are also providing the support crew for the challenge, in which riders will cycle 307 miles in total – more if they divert from the designated route!

    The five-day adventure culminates in a celebration meal and photo shoot at the foot of the famous Eiffel Tower.

    Registration is now open on our events page. All entrants will receive a free Demelza cycling jersey and full support in fund-raising prior to the event. Anyone aged 16 and over can enter – although under-18s must be accompanied by an adult.

    Last year’s big bike ride – to Amsterdam – raised more than £200,000.

    If you can’t wait until 2018 to take part in the Demelza 101, there’s still time to sign up for this year’s event – climbing picturesque Scafell in the Lake District, or tackling a scenic triathlon – canoeing in Derwentwater, a 25-mile cycle ride and six-mile trek.

  • Swimmers take the plunge for Demelza

    by User Not Found | Jan 31, 2017
    More than 50 daring divers braved the winter chills and plunged into the outdoor waters of Charlton Lido to raise funds for Demelza.

    Among them was Adam Phillips, from Maidstone and brother of the late Demelza Phillips, after whom the charity was named. Adam took on a whopping 2km challenge along with 20 other brave swimmers including Mary Groutage from Lee whose 2-year old nephew, Harry, is supported by Demelza in Eltham.

    Swimmers were aged from 6 to 72 and swam distances from 100 metres (two lengths) to 2km (40 lengths), raising vital funds to help with our work.

    Some of them took the plunge wearing fancy dress and a host of singing fish from the Bexleyheath Rock Choir along with characters from Star Wars and Minions could be found bobbing about in the pool during the course of the afternoon.

    Entrants were rewarded with hot drinks and refreshments after the swim as well as a commemorative Snowflake Swim medal.

    The Snowflake Swim took place at Charlton Lido in Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill, on Sunday (January 29).

    Events Co-ordinator Gemma Murray, who took part in the swim herself, said: “We were really pleased to see so many people embracing this chilly challenge again this year.
    “Last year our swimmers raised an incredible £20,473 and we would love this year’s brave participants to beat that!”

    Check out our image gallery

  • Demelza on TV - text Memories to donate

    by User Not Found | Jan 30, 2017

    A number of our children have taken part in a TV commercial which aims to raise awareness of Demelza in London and the South East.

    The commercial, made possible thanks to Kent-based Swale Heating donating £26,000-worth of their own air-time to us, was filmed by Red Goat, with the voice-over recorded at the Sunlight Centre, Gillingham.

    Due to be aired in the London and Meridian regions from February, the commercial features the voice of 11-year old Caitlin, who recites a moving poem which accompanies the 30-second commercial.

    As well as promoting the vital work of Demelza, the advert prompts viewers to text to donate – a key feature, as the charity is reliant on community generosity to be able to provide care to families in need.

    Viewers are invited to text 'MEMORIES' to 70660 to donate £3. You can also donate via our website here

    Demelza Chief Executive Ryan Campbell said: “This is the first time Demelza has advertised on television and we are enormously grateful to Swale Heating for giving us this exciting opportunity.

    “It will bring our work to the attention of a wide audience and hopefully show them what a vital service we provide to families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.”

    Caitlin, who suffered a stroke at the age of four and has complex heart problems, said: “It was brilliant to be asked to be the voice for Demelza, even though I was really nervous. I felt like I was speaking out on behalf of all the other children who use Demelza, which was a real privilege.”

    Swale Heating displays the Demelza logo on its vans and services our heating free of charge. The company is always looking for more ways to support Demelza and Sales Director Matthew Edwards said: “Demelza is an amazing charity. We wanted to give them an opportunity to tell more people about their work.”

    Check out the advert below.

  • Bridal room boom after Paulette's dress goes viral

    by User Not Found | Jan 30, 2017
    The bridal department of our Canterbury shop has seen a boom, after a mystery benefactor donated a dress bought with Demelza lottery winnings.

    Paulette Philpott scooped £1,000 in our weekly lottery - the same day she spied her dream dress in a Maidstone bridal shop.

    Following her wedding, in June 2015, she decided to donate the dress back to Demelza to sell in its Canterbury bridal boutique.

    The only problem was - she didn't leave her name, so we mounted a major search to find her, starting with the bridal shop and ending with the local press.

    Paulette was duly found and, when news of her generous gesture - and how she came by the Stella York dress - hit the headlines, the Canterbury shop was besieged by customers wanting to take a look.

    Paulette, 58, said:"I’ve done the lottery for years, not because I want to win, but to support the charity.
    "The dress I really loved was two pounds short of £1,000. It seemed an awful lot to pay for something you only wear once. When I got home and opened the post and there was a cheque for £1,000 I could barely believe my eyes.
    It was as if it was meant to be – and meant I could buy my dress.”

    Paulette and her partner Mal tied the knot at Upchurch River Valley Golf Club in June 2015.
    Paulette said: “We had quite a big wedding, with five bridesmaids, who all looked gorgeous – but the dress made my day absolutely perfect.
    "Afterwards, it hung around at my mum’s for a while, then in my wardrobe, taking up space.
    "In the end, I decided it would be nice if I could give it to someone else to make their day just as special as mine had been.”

    The dress is now among dozens of beautiful gowns in Demelza’s charity shop in Burgate, Canterbury, which has a specialist bridal department, selling beautiful new and pre-loved wedding gowns priced from £80 - £500.

    Shop manager Lauren Ashby said: “It was a lovely gesture for this lady to give the dress back to us – I’m sure it won’t be long before it is snapped up!”

    Paulette's story was featured on ITV Meridian News and the Otford shop Brides Dress Revisited has offered to donate unsold and unclaimed stock to Demelza's bridal room.  

    Paulette, from Sittingbourne, said: It’s lovely to be able to give something back. Demelza does such amazing work.”

    Demelza’s lottery awards a £1,000 prize each week, as well as a host of other smaller prizes. Subscribers to the weekly Lotto are also eligible to join the Superdraw, with a chance of winning a £25,000 prize.