The end of 2023 marked a very busy time at Haven House, as we had plenty of events for families to come together and make memories over the festive season.

Here is a little summary of the wonderful things we got up to, a huge thank you to our amazing staff, volunteers and supporters who made them all possible.

Aladdin Panto

We kickstarted our festivities with a Panto as Aladdin and his friends made a flying visit to Haven House to perform for our children and families.

Starlight’s Christmas Pantomime Tour stopped in at Haven House where the audience of children, families and staff cheered for their hero Aladdin, booed Jafar and warmed up their vocal cords with ‘A friend like me’ and ‘A whole new world'.

We wanted to bring a bit of sparkle to the hospice and there is no better way to bring some festive cheer than a pantomime. Starlight is a fantastic charity, and each year we look forward to the arrival of the Starlight Christmas Panto and the fun, laughter and magic that it brings our children.

Christmas Grotto 

In early December more than 900 visitors came through our gates to our Christmas Grotto. We were delighted that 154 hospice family members enjoyed the event too. Guests enjoyed tasty Winter warmers and sweet treats and our little guests were able to meet the man himself and his friendly elves in Santa’s Grotto.

Family Party

Our family party is organised for children who use Haven House services and their siblings. This year the event was held at All Saint’s Church on Saturday 9 December.

A host of fun activities were on offer, from magic tricks, facepainting, festive photo booth, dancing and games for children of all ages and abilities. And for an added bit of sparkle children and their siblings were able to visit Father Christmas and his cheeky elves in the grotto.

Lunch was an amazing spread of mini pizzas, sandwiches, quiches, sausages, onion bhajis, vegetable samosas, a selection of Halal foods, vegetarian and vegan choices. There were cakes galore all handmade and delicious! To end the afternoon the children’s enjoyed a session of creative storytelling.

Dad Khaleel said: “I want to say a very big thank you for your hard work organising the Christmas party. It was really nice; you could see on all the kid’s faces, their smiles and how happy they were and enjoying the dancing and taking part in the activities.”

This event was made possible thanks to the Harry Kane Foundation, our wonderful volunteers and corporate partners.

Mums and Dads Festive Meal

Our Coffee Morning Mums' were all excited to meet at The Harvester, Chingford for a festive lunch on Tuesday 12 December. There was lots of choice on the menu and something for everyone! Festive delights including a full Christmas dinner and a chestnut and cranberry bake were served! Mums happily chatted together whilst pulling crackers and sharing lots of tips and information with each other.

Dads from our monthly Dads’ group met for a festive evening meal in South Woodford. One Dad shared how meeting with other dads helped him realise that he’s not alone and advice given on the night gave him strength and motivation going forward. Other comments included; ‘had a fantastic time’, ‘really enjoyed sharing our experiences in a relaxed atmosphere’.

Leyton Orient Christmas visit 

On the week of Christmas, we were delighted to welcome players and staff from Leyton Orient Football Club. The team got involved with arts and crafts, biscuit decorating and raised smiles by handing out gifts to children and families. Siblings also had the opportunity to quiz the players on anything football related.

Aisling Kilbane, Acting Director of Care, said:

Christmas is a poignant time of year. Here at Haven House, we hold many wonderful events for the children and families that access our services. We hope to bring a little Christmas spirit to the children and families we support, helping to bring people together and create wonderful memories. Along with all the events and present drop offs, there have been many kind donations and gifts given by supporters and we couldn’t be more grateful for everyone’s generosity.