I have worked in family support and specialised in disability for many years. My teenage son has special needs and I became interested in the hospice sector after my daughter died from cancer. We had a lot of support and it made such a difference which is why I’m so passionate about ensuring all families receive a good level of care.

Parents often face many different challenges which can compound their grief. As a Family Support Worker, I assist in a variety of ways. It’s quite hard to describe all the things I do as each case is different. I can help families access housing, benefits and funding for equipment.

Sometimes it can be the basic things such as finding a suitable bed for a family with a child at end of life or helping a family achieve their first holiday which provides the loveliest memories. I also help families with complex educational issues and navigating the immigration system.

Haven House serves a vast diverse region encompassing several diverse multi-ethnic populations with high levels of poverty in certain areas. The cost of caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition has a considerable financial impact on any family, but for families who are already struggling it can feel insurmountable.

No parent has knowledge of arranging a funeral for their child. It’s just not something that people think about until they have to do it. Suddenly at the worst time in their life, they have to do something which is very expensive and bound by quite strict time limits and different laws. 

Some of our families find themselves in a position where they are unable to cover the cost of burying their child which is an unbelievably distressing situation to be in. Part of my role is to try and find practical solutions and do everything that I can to help lessen the burden.

I am proud to have played a role in setting up our new Hardship Fund pilot project which can allow grants to be made of up to £500 for families in urgent need of help.

Some of our families suddenly find they face an emergency travel cost to get their child to hospital or pay for urgent equipment needed at end of life. In these circumstances being able to access a Hardship Fund can make all the difference to families without a safety net.   

I also work closely with the bereavement and counselling teams at Haven House as many families will require long-term emotional support. To help families during such difficult times is a huge privilege and everyone at Haven House works together to ensure the best experience possible for every family when time is precious.

Find out more about our community and family services.