Children’s hospice launches campaign

Beckie Argent
Beckie Argent

Chestnut Tree, the children’s hospice service, has launched a new campaign that aims to double the number of children it cares for in East Sussex and is asking local people to put their Hands Up if they can help.

The charity cares for 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families.

The hospice building near Worthing was built 12 years ago and has 10 beds providing specialist short breaks, emergency care, step down from hospital and end of life care.

In addition, their Community Team cares for families in their own homes in East Sussex, West Sussex and South East Hampshire.

Beckie Argent is a community nurse for Chestnut Tree. She works with children and families in their own homes, offering practical and emotional support from diagnosis of a life-shortening condition through to the end of a child’s life.

Beckie said, “One day I could be meeting a family for the first time, helping them come to terms with a diagnosis for their child and work out a way forward, the next I could be looking after a child we have known for years, offering their parents a precious few hours to themselves. And at other times I will be caring for a child at the end of their life, giving the family the opportunity to say goodbye to their child in their own way.

“The key is that Chestnut Tree offers tailored care to each family. Wherever they are in Sussex, whatever their individual needs, we are there with practical support to give them the chance to live life to the full, for as much time as they have together.”

Chestnut Tree knows that there are more children and families in East Sussex who could be benefitting from their care but they need help to reach them.

Karen Brailey, community nurse manager at the hospice, added, “People assume that we are a West Sussex charity, but we work with families across the whole of East and West Sussex.

“We need to change this perception and let people know that we can offer care for children with life-shortening conditions and their families right here.

“It costs well over £3 million pounds every year to offer all of our care services, and as we reach more children this figure will increase. We receive less than 8% of our funding from central government so we rely on the generosity of the local community to keep our doors open.

Anybody who would like to put their Hands Up and pledge their support to Chestnut Tree can find out more at Chestnut-Tree-House.org.uk/handsup, can ring on 01323 725095 or email handsup@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk.