We are overjoyed that we are one of the charities benefitting from a Sussex NHS Charities Together Community Partnerships grant, led by Heads On Charity. Lavinia Jarrett, Acting Chief Executive at Demelza, has said: “This is fantastic news – a huge thank you goes out to Heads On for this funding. COVID-19 continues to impact the families we support and this grant will help in providing vital care when and where families most need it.”

Oncology referrals at Demelza

Demelza provides specialist care and vital support to children, young people and babies with serious or terminal conditions – historically, this has not included children with cancer – as these children are usually cared for within local or specialist hospitals.

During the pandemic, Demelza’s oncology referrals rose by 100%. This was due to the difficulty of getting into hospitals and understandably, the reluctance of families to visit hospitals during this period which saw cases of COVID-19 rapidly rising. Now, Demelza is providing more end of life oncology support than ever before and we anticipate this will continue to increase.

Heads On grant

NHS Charities Together awarded Head On, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Charity, a grant of £830,000 to enhance Sussex health care. The grant aims to reduce stress on the NHS and to provide wrap-around provisions for individuals and communities which is vitally needed.

Heads On have since named 10 successful partner organisations that will deliver projects supporting this initiative. We are delighted to have been awarded £36,900 to deliver a one-year project, enhancing end of life care at home for oncology patients in Sussex, with the support of our East Sussex community care team.

Childhood cancer: End of life care at home

Demelza’s project, made possible by Heads On and NHS Charities Together funding, aims to enable children and young people with cancer to receive end of life care, at home, should they wish to spend their last days, weeks or months, out of hospital.

The project will see a 24-hour on-call rota be delivered between Demelza Hospice Care for Children, Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and the NHS Community Nursing Team. This dedicated team of Specialist Paediatric Nurses will deliver the expert clinical care and pain relief needed to make the child comfortable and pain-free within their own home. This type of specialist end of life care can only be delivered by highly skilled nurses, and if this team could not provide it, the child would have to remain in hospital, irrespective of their wishes, or the wishes of the family.

Chestnut Tree House, have been delivering community nursing care since 2001 and are experts in the field of children’s palliative care. Likewise, East Sussex’s Children’s Community Nursing Team are a team of highly specialised Children’s Nurses, who deliver expert nursing care to children and young people in the familiar environment of their own home, school or nursery – and we are incredibly grateful to them for supporting us with the delivery of this much-needed service.

Melissa Mungovan, Lead Nurse at Demelza in East Sussex said: “Our team are so excited to be part of the Heads On project. It gives us the opportunity to provide more specialist care within the community and to strengthen our existing relationship with our external partners. We strive to provide the best possible care and support for our families and this grant will maximise our potential. Families will be able to receive more services within their own home, reducing hospital or hospice admissions and allowing family life to continue without disruption, as best as it possibly can.”

We are delighted to be collaborating with Chestnut Tree House and East Sussex’s Children’s Community Nursing Team and look forward to seeing the impact of this project within our Sussex community.

Find out more about the services we offer at Demelza, including care at home: