Demelza’s Digital Marketing Assistant, Rebecca, volunteer's at our #FestiveWishes Christmas grotto and magical trail.

“Hello! My name is Rebecca and in the week leading up to Christmas I had the pleasure of heading to our Sittingbourne hospice to begin my duties as a Demelza Elf – and it really was magical.

“This year was my first Christmas with Demelza and I was keen to get involved in our family events. Christmas is such a special time for many and I feel that even more so when I think of the families we care for. Demelza’s family support department works really hard all year long to create memory-making opportunities, but especially around Christmas time.

“We were fortunate enough to be in a position to safely welcome families back to our grotto, this year with the new addition of our magical trail through the gardens. The grotto offers both staff and volunteers the opportunity to come together and help create magical experiences for the children and their families."

Two women wearing Christmas hats and medical facemasks at Demelza's Kent hospice.
Volunteering opportunities

“Opportunities were available to help as a grotto or ‘craft elves’, car parking or beverage attendants, garden guides (guiding families through the magical trail) – and of course, the coveted role of Father Christmas himself was taken on by our dedicated volunteers."

Pictured: Rebecca and fellow Demelza Elf, Hannah.

“The magical trail was just that, magical – and it was my role to guide the families through the colourfully lit gardens, spotting the candy canes hidden amongst the trees, until they reached the craft area, where they had the opportunity to decorate an elf house or tree decoration. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous. Unlike the family support or care teams, my role within the marketing team doesn’t usually involve direct interaction with the families and it felt really important to make sure each family, child and sibling had a wonderful time visiting Father Christmas."

Demelza's garden is lit up with colourful lights, at night time.
The Demelza garden's are lit up with colourful lights, at night time.

“For me, it was a quick realisation that a visit to Father Christmas, something that might seem so simple to plan to you or me, for families caring for a child with a serious or terminal condition, is something that might be impossible; having to consider their medical needs and equipment, suitable parking or a quiet location that’s not too overwhelming – in itself, could be extremely overwhelming for the family.

“As I sat in the craft area with one family who had brought along their child, who is a wheelchair user, and his two siblings, I overheard his Mum make a passing comment to her partner, about the bench she had just sat her child at. The bench had half a seat, allowing space for a wheelchair to sit in closely. She loved that, smiled, and said how she was ‘easily pleased’.

“Every child I saw during my spell as a Demelza Elf was so clearly excited, and could not wait to get into the grotto and meet Father Christmas, and it was so heart-warming to see. To our family support department, really well done, I know you’ve helped make a lot of magical Christmas memories.

“If you’re thinking about volunteering, do it. It’s fun, it’s rewarding and at Demelza, there are lots of opportunities for you. From volunteering at our grotto to helping in the hospices, or supporting at our events – whatever skills and experiences you have, however many hours you can give, we would love to hear from you!”