Demelza Hospice Care for Children’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus statement icon

We’re working hard as an organisation to respond to the current COVID-19 situation as and when it develops.

Children and families remain at the heart of our strategy and we will be working hard to ensure that our service continues in whichever way possible.

Here’s what we are doing to ensure we respond to the needs of children, supporters, staff and volunteers at Demelza.

We will continue to heed current Public Health England (PHE) and Government advice and take measures as needed to protect the best interests of our children, families, supporters, volunteers and staff. Please keep abreast of current advice here.

Masks and social distancing

Demelza understands the Government may potentially lift current restrictions, subject to a final review. As a provider of healthcare, we recognise that the children and families who need Demelza’s services have complex needs and remain vulnerable. Most children and young people are under 18 and most would be unable to have the vaccine due to the complex nature of their health issues. 

This means that whilst our infection prevention and control procedures remain under constant review; we will retain the use of surgical masks, social distancing and routine testing within our hospice buildings for all adults – staff, volunteers and visitors for at least the foreseeable future. All visitors over 11 years will be asked to complete a rapid lateral flow test unless it is unsafe or unkind to do so.

We will continue to follow advice from Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that children and families, as well as staff, volunteers and visitors are protected as much as possible. We are continuing to work alongside relevant hospitals and our local Clinical Commissioning Groups for further guidance on how best to support you and your family. We take our duty of care to everyone present in our buildings very seriously and will always ensure safety is the top priority.

Care and support services

During the last 12 months Demelza has seen an increase in admissions for end of life care, step down, symptom management and urgent care. These have always been a priority for those who need this care and for Demelza as one of the few organisations who can provide this support. These remain a high priority, but we are also keen to provide short breaks where we have capacity.

We have therefore made changes to our short breaks offer to enable us to respond to those with urgent care needs such as end of life care and to make booking short breaks fairer for all families, including those who have not previously benefited from short breaks before. For full details, please click here.

Any non-urgent face to face activity such as emergency short breaks, care at home, Family Support activities and Practical Volunteering Support are delivered appropriately within the remit of care to vulnerable people. Our Family Support activity also continues to be delivered remotely online.

The hydrotherapy pool and cinema facilities at our Kent hospice and the sensory room at East Sussex are now open to non-resident families and can be booked by emailing careadministration@demelza.org.uk.

We will continue to follow advice from Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that children and families, as well as staff, volunteers and visitors are protected as much as possible. We are continuing to work alongside relevant hospitals and our local Clinical Commissioning Groups for further guidance on how best to support you and your family.

Further information, support and the activities calendar can be accessed via our Families Facebook group. If you feel you need to speak to someone we encourage you to reach out and contact Demelza’s Family Support Team, who are available every working weekday between 10-4pm on 01795 845280 or please email via familysupportdepartment@demelza.org.uk.


Thank you for your continued and much valued support, which has never been more needed. Our events calendar is starting to open up as restrictions ease. Please visit our Events pages for details of forthcoming fundraising challenges and events, including our Celebration of Christmas and London Marathon places for 2021.

If you require advice about the events you are organising, your own fundraising activity or events you are participating in, please contact our Fundraising Team by emailing fundraising@demelza.org.uk or call 0300 365 3653 for further information and we will be pleased to offer support as best we can. We will continue to keep in touch with any updates on fundraising activity.


Our high street shops in Kent, East Sussex and South East London are now open, with exception of our Eastbourne store, and able to take donations throughout their opening hours.

All of our shops have measures in place to make sure we’re keeping teams and customers safe, including sanitiser stations and protective screens. Following the updated national guidance, we ask that customers please wear a face covering and maintain social distancing while visiting our shops, to continue protecting themselves, others and our teams.

We will also be continuing to ask our staff to wear face coverings to ensure both customers and teams stay as safe as possible.

Donations will be quarantined for 24 hours, and are steamed and cleaned before going out for sale. Please note that the donation station at Demelza’s Kent hospice in Sittingbourne remains closed.

If you would like to donate to us, you can find your local Demelza shop here. Thank you for your support!


As always, we are incredibly grateful to all of our wonderful volunteers whose help to Demelza is invaluable. The health and wellbeing of our volunteers is at the forefront of our minds during the current situation surrounding COVID-19.

In recent months we have relied more than ever on volunteers to help us with providing essential services to support children and families, including important ancillary services like housekeeping, catering and facilities.

We are adopting a cautious return to offices for volunteers, with safety measures such as face coverings, social distancing, hot desking and regular testing still in place. If you have any questions or concerns, please seek advice from your line manager about your particular area.

We are continuing to recruit volunteers and are currently in need of retail volunteers; more information can be accessed here.

Many thanks for your commitment and understanding. You really are an extraordinary group of people.


Our valued staff are paramount to the continuing operation of our service and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that we are able to deliver this safely and with minimal disruption throughout this period.

We are adopting a cautious return to offices for non-care staff, with safety measures such as face coverings, social distancing, hot desking and regular testing still in place. Where staff can work from home, they can continue to do so.

We would like to thank our staff for their tireless commitment to the charity and for doing all they can to minimise infection and keep our services going. Thank you.