Keep the Joy Alive for children with life-shortening conditions

Chas, 1 june 2017 embargo 1web

Maria McGill explains why CHAS is embarking on a hugely ambitions project to double its fundraising income

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6th June 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

The stark reality is, three children die each week in Scotland from a life-shortening condition. And at present, CHAS cares for only one in three of those families. We need to be there for every single one of them and that’s why this week we have launched our most ambitious fundraising campaign yet, Keep the Joy Alive.

As Scotland’s national children’s hospice service, our mission is to reach every family in Scotland – our response to the findings of a ground-breaking study we carried out in 2015 in partnership with the Scottish Government called Children in Scotland requiring Palliative Care (ChiSP). For the first time, the full extent of the need for palliative care for children in Scotland was exposed, and it has helped us shape a fully integrated, strategic plan – Reaching Every Family in Scotland – to ensure we are reaching families who are not currently benefitting from our care.

Maria McGill

Maria McGill

The new strategy will increase support for children under one year of age, where the greatest number of deaths occur; increase the psychological and practical support for the families, who can experience isolation, financial hardship and relationship breakdowns; support young adults to realise their ambitions and goals as they move from children’s to adult’s services and increase CHAS support in communities and hospitals across Scotland.

Keep the Joy Alive has an instrumental part to play for us in delivering our plan to reach every family. It will raise awareness of CHAS’ services in communities across Scotland, it aims to double our income and highlight that our hospices are a place for families to come and live life.

They are a place for a tired parent to rest and have a cup of tea in peace. They are a place where siblings can play the drums as loud as they want to in the teenage den. And a place where a child who has never been able to swim before because of complex medical conditions, can splash about in the specially created hydrotherapy pool, surrounded by their family. We also bring this care, happiness and love into communities across Scotland through our CHAS at Home service, supporting families in their own homes when they need it most. Increasingly we’re working in children’s hospitals and wards across Scotland directly supporting children and families as well as our NHS colleagues. Creating moments of joy, unique and special to each family is a precious part of our work.

When developing the campaign, we teamed up with an amazing group of designers – the very children and young people that we support – to design a new look for CHAS and forms our new logo. The children hand created over 60 beautiful letters, known as the CHAS alphabet, which includes flowers, handprints, giraffes, squiggles and of course the iconic rocking horse, which is an important symbol of our heritage. Each letter has a touching story behind it, relating to each designer, forming something far more special and unique than we could have ever imagined. No one could have captured the spirit of CHAS better than the children we care for, and it was very important to us that they were at the centre of this process, and what is a momentous time for the organisation.

The alphabet is available in sticker form, and we’re urging the public to support us by creating their CHAS alphabet name, share it with us on social media and then send it to us. Later this year, we will unveil a major event involving all of the names of support we have collected. We can’t reach every family without you, so go on, keep the joy alive today and pledge your support to CHAS!