Half-term is a busy time for families and the same is true for us at Haven House.

The recent autumn half-term coincided with our annual Pumpkin Plod family fundraiser which saw 500 children and adults wear orange and dress as pumpkins in a series of sponsored walks for our hospice. 

This year’s Pumpkin Plod exceeded all expectations with five times as many plodders compared to last year. Many parents said they found the plod particularly appealing as it was a family-friendly event in the run-up to Halloween and also an inexpensive way to entertain children in our grounds and neighbouring forest on a Sunday afternoon.   

Even without the excitement of our Pumpkin Plod, half-term holidays are often a very busy time for us. Many families use our hospice for respite care for their children. The vast majority of our school-aged children attend school during term time: a fact which often surprises people who may not be familiar with the world of hospice care.

It can be difficult for parents of life-limited children during term breaks when support is no longer available to their child at school. Our parents often need to spend a significant amount of time caring for a child with substantial health needs and school holidays can make it harder for them to focus on other family members. For working parents, accessing care can become even more a challenge as it will not always be possible for a parent to be at home with their child in the holidays.  

That is why respite care at Haven House can make such a difference. Our parents tell us that it has helped saved their life by giving them vital breaks from caring 24 hours a day. Respite care also gives families peace of mind as their child will be able to have lots of fun with us during their stay: whether that’s in our sensory room, playground or music room.

Half-term is also a fun and exciting time for our ‘Buddies’, the brothers and sisters of children who use our hospice. Buddies is a service that allows siblings to meet other brothers and sisters of children with life-limiting conditions. As part of their half-term activities, our Buddies created their own special film about ‘magical biscuits’ inside the Buddies Hut and learnt about using video cameras. We also continued with our pumpkin theme with pumpkin-inspired painting and activities in our hospice’s arts and crafts room.    

With so much going on it’s hard to believe that Christmas will be here soon which of course means another busy time for all of us at Haven House.