Bluebell Wood calls on Government to support short breaks for seriously ill children by creating a ring-fenced £434m grant

Bluebell Wood is calling on the Government to ‘step up’ and help guarantee families of children with life-shortening conditions a much-needed break.

The hospice is backing leading UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives in urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ring-fence a £434m grant to make sure under-pressure families of children in palliative care do not miss out on respite to alleviate stress.

The campaign comes as new research estimates that 11 per cent of parents of children who need respite delivered by children’s palliative care providers like Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice would experience significantly less stress and improved mental and physical health if they could all access them.

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Simon Hills

Simon Hills, hospice chief executive, said: “The short breaks that we provide are a very real lifeline for children whose lives are just too short and their families.

“Parents and carers tell us how important they are to help them recharge their batteries and spend time just being mum and dad, away from the 24/7 caring responsibilities that come with looking after child with incredibly complex needs.

“The pressures and isolation of lockdown has meant that these breaks are now more important than ever, with many families unable to access some of the support networks they rely on.

“Our phenomenal supporters in the communities we serve go above and beyond every day to help us raise the funds to cover our lifeline services and we’re incredibly grateful for all their support.

“However, we also need the government to step up and make sure local councils provide funding to sustain regular short breaks for families now and into the future.

“At Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice we want to reach as many families who need us as possible so sustainable, long-term funding is central in achieving this.”

The pressure on families caring for a seriously ill child with complex needs is immense.

Yet, on average, local authority funding for short breaks for children’s hospices across England was cut by 12 per cent in 2019/20.

FROM THE EDITOR

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