Haven House Children’s Hospice has been highly commended at the prestigious Royal College of Nursing (RCN) awards for our commitment to carers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The commendation was announced at a virtual ceremony last night (Tuesday 12 October) with special guests Emilia Clarke, Kate Garraway, Joanne Bosanquet and Pat Cullen. 

In the most challenging time in NHS history, the RCN Nursing Awards recognise excellence in nursing and healthcare. The 2021 awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts, commitment and achievements made by the whole of the nursing community. 

More than 500 applications entered the fifteen award categories and we feel very proud to have been one of the 79 incredible finalists. 


Richard Penney, Interim CEO at Haven House, said:

I’d like to congratulate the team on this incredible achievement. The children and families we have supported over the last 18 months have faced the most extraordinary challenges and the team have excelled in their response to all that they have had to manage in very difficult circumstances. I am extremely proud of the whole team and delighted that their efforts have been recognised by the RCN and their colleagues across the sector.

 During the COVID-19 pandemic, Haven House immediately worked to identify ways to support families to navigate together this unprecedented time. The team quickly identified the challenges that families and carers faced when their child was nearing the end of their life and when hospital visiting was extremely limited. 

The team worked to rapidly discharge children from hospital, even going out of area to support other teams with their clinical expertise to respond to emergency requests. This enabled whole families to be together during such an unimaginable time either in the hospice or at home with 24/7 support. 

As many families shielded, Haven House delivered a package of virtual support including music therapy, counselling, therapeutic yoga, play and even physiotherapy. 

In describing what this support meant to carers one hospice mum said:

When all doors were closing, Haven House opened theirs.

For bereaved families, the team organised a live virtual memory day service. The hospice’s weekly pharmacy clinic, regular coffee mornings and Dad’s group provided peer and professional support to carers, to ease isolation and provide a continued sense of community. This helped ease some of the effects of the restriction of services caused by the pandemic. 

Speaking at the celebration evening, Eileen White, Director of Care at Haven House, said she was 'full of pride'. 

She said:

The extraordinary team at Haven House continues to demonstrate unwavering compassion, professionalism and dedication. Not only during the pandemic but always. To be highly commended means an incredible amount to all of us and is thoroughly well deserved. In what has been a challenging 18 months, the team’s commitment and support to carers caring for seriously ill children has been an invaluable lifeline. I am so very proud.  

“The RCN awards shine a light on the exceptional carers who care for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illness. We wish to dedicate this incredible achievement to these resilient families who inspire us each day.”