Children and families at Robin House Hospice in Balloch met Monica Lennon MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, at the start of Children's Hospice Week (which takes place from 17-23 June) today. The theme for this year's Children's Hospice Week is Moments that Matter.
During her visit, Ms Lennon heard directly from those families, as well as staff and volunteers from Children's Hospices Across Scotland - better known as CHAS - about some of their most joyful and memorable moments at play with children and young people who cope with life-shortening conditions. CHAS currently supports some 450 families in all four corners of Scotland - through two hospices, at home, and in the hospital setting.
Robin House is set on the corner of Loch Lomond National Park, where simple experiences that many other many families take for granted are brought to life for those less fortunate. Beyond offering palliative and respite care, specialist staff can support children with complex medical needs to experience hydrotherapy, sensory play or enjoy the great outdoors.
When a family with a child who suffers a life-shortening condition is supported by CHAS, the charity offers a wide range of support for as long as they need it, from one to one support, counselling and group support to remembering days.
Monica Lennon MSP said: "I'd like to thank CHAS for their invitation to visit Robin House during Children's Hospice Week, and for the opportunity to learn more about what they do.
"It was clear to me that the work that CHAS do is phenomenal, providing vital support and comfort to children and their families at one of the most difficult periods of their life.
"I'll continue do all I can to support and promote the work of CHAS in Parliament and beyond, to ensure that they get the support and resources they need to continue to carry out their important role in supporting families."
Maria McGill, Chief Executive of CHAS said: "Robin House is a place that is full of love and joy, so I am absolutely delighted to welcome Monica to meet with families, staff and volunteers. CHAS supports many of the children in Scotland who die young, and their siblings and families, at the hardest of times. We can only do that because of the generosity and kindness of so many supporters and volunteers. Robin House allows families to create precious memories and puts the biggest smiles on children's faces - moments of joy that families can remember forever."
In Scotland, nearly 16,000 children and young people live with life-shortening conditions and CHAS is determined to reach every family who needs its services. CHAS works across Scotland, able to provides its hospice services nation-wide for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions., CHAS offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care from Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch.
Last year, CHAS supported children with life-shortening conditions to spend over 4,500 bed nights in Robin House and Rachel House, the two children's hospices in Scotland. There were 7,600 bed nights for siblings, parents and other relatives of children.
The CHAS at Home service supports families with the services of a hospice yet in their own homes across the whole of Scotland. Through its Diana Children's Nurses working in hospitals across the country, CHAS supports families and clinical teams.