THE STAR SAYS: South Yorkshire hospice is there for families all the time

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I’ts a place you pray you will never have to go – but if you do, it’s seen by many as a haven during a heartbreaking time.

No parent or child would ever wish to have to use the services on offer at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston, Sheffield.

But behind its front doors, instead of doom, gloom and devastation you will discover a place filled with love, hope and support.

Bluebell Wood is one of the Yorkshire children’s hospices being supported by a new fundraising campaign launched by our sister newspaper, The Yorkshire Post, and backed by The Star.

The facility is so much more than a place where children with a shortened life expectancy go to be made comfortable and families prepare to say their goodbyes. It is a place where lovely memories are built, where life-long friendships are made and where staff treat patients and their relatives like they are members of their own family.

The fantastic work does not end at the door; community nurses take their services where they are needed across South Yorkshire, as our feature on pages eight and nine of today’s paper reveals.

And if the worst does happen, the staff at the hospice will not stop caring for and providing services to a grieving family.

When a child dies, parents are given the option to stay in a special end of life suite in the hospice, with their child, until it is time to say a final goodbye. Family members are welcome to visit throughout this time and counselling is available to help loved ones come to terms with their devastating loss.

In the months and years that follow, the hospice will continue to be there for a family, whether it is at their annual Remembering Day, through daytrips and outings with the sibling group or during therapy sessions.

Of course, all this charity’s amazing work – provided free-of-charge to its users – comes with a price tag. Every year, the hospices supported by this campaign – Bluebell Wood, Martin House in Boston Spa and Forget Me Not in Huddersfield – need to raise a total of £13.3m because only ten per cent of their funding comes from the government.

This is why we are urging our readers to do their bit to help provide these vital services, whether that’s by donating even a few pounds or by holding a fundraising event.

You’ll find all the details about how to donate on pages eight and nine.

Nobody would ever wish to be in a situation where Bluebell Wood is part of their lives – but, as parents of tragic youngsters have told the reporter who is working on this campaign, if you are, it might just help you to get your life back.