Haven House Children’s Hospice says it wants to do “even more” to support Muslim families in London in response to a report highlighting the need for hospices to broaden their access to Muslim communities.

Bridging the Gap: Strengthening relations between hospices and Muslims of Britain was commissioned by the charities Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives and researched and written by the Woolf Institute.

Published this month, the report urges for improved capture of religion and ethnicity by hospices and NHS services and greater engagement between hospices and Muslim communities. Haven House was among several hospices to contribute to the report and has welcomed its findings.

The hospice, which serves North and North East London, West Essex and East Hertfordshire, supported 329 children from 2014/15 and approximately one-third came from Muslim families. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there are more than one million Muslims living in London.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) and its affiliates raised £10,000 for the hospice.

Mike Palfreman, Chief Executive of Haven House said: “With so many of our children coming from Muslim backgrounds it is vital that our support services reflect the spiritual and cultural diversity of our families.

“We already have strong links with Muslim communities across our area, but today’s report highlights how hospices can do even more to meet the needs of Muslims families.”

Mariam Alim, from Redbridge, North East London, has benefited from the support of Haven House for her nine-year-old daughter, Azia. Soon after birth, Aiza was diagnosed with a very rare metabolic disorder, causing severe neuro-developmental delay. She has many medical conditions and requires use of a body brace and wheelchair.

Mariam gave up her job to become a full-time carer but was fortunate to be referred to Haven House shortly after diagnosis. Mariam believes other Muslim mothers who are in a similar position could also benefit from the support provided by children’s hospices.

She said: “As Aiza has grown so has our relationship with Haven House. It’s a place where children come for respite and care, but the most wonderful part is the one that not everyone sees.

“Aiza loves coming here she loves every aspect, the care, the play, the outings, the singing the list could go on and on.

“The respite stays give my husband and I a chance to go on short holidays, make trips to the cinema and catch up on some much needed sleep.

“Words cannot really express how important Haven House and all of its staff are to us. We wouldn't function if it wasn't for this wonderful place.”

To find out more how Haven House supports Azia and her family, click here.