While the Pepper Foundation is proud to fund the Children’s Hospice at Home service that has helped provide care for hundreds of local children over the years, one way in which we’re particularly happy to support families is with our annual family events.
On Thursday 31st August, we took a large number of the families receiving home-based hospice care and pediatric hospice nursing through the Children’s Hospice at Home service for a day out at Whipsnade Zoo.
We provide this at no cost to the families and also arrange transport for families who have special requirements to be able to attend.
We just wanted to say thank you SO much for an amazing day out! We all loved it.
- Family feedback from the day
Nestled in the picturesque Chiltern Hills of Bedfordshire, England, Whipsnade Zoo is a sprawling and vibrant wildlife sanctuary that promises an unforgettable day out for families.
Covering 600 acres of countryside, Whipsnade is one of the largest zoos in the UK. The Zoo is designed to mimic the natural habitats of its diverse residents. With wide-open spaces and carefully crafted enclosures, the animals here have plenty of room to roam and behave as closely to their wild counterparts as possible.
We were lucky to catch a lot of the animals, including the a baby giraffe and the lions (who are often sleeping in the morning!).
Every family is unique in its situation and every child has their own diagnosis, needs and requirements, so it can be difficult for some families caring for children with life-limiting conditions to get out together as a group.
Some families that receive care from the Children’s Hospice at Home service are rarely able to leave the house as a whole family due to a mix of care, financial and practical reasons, so this is why we believe it is especially important for us to help families enjoy the things that make family life special by providing days out that require less planning for families and that are provided at no cost.
Family events form part of a larger holistic care for children with life-limiting conditions, and aid with the emotional support for families.
The family day out really is a highlight of our events calendar and gives us a great opportunity to meet families in person and hear their stories.
The day started early for the Pepper team, ensuring that we were there to greet each family at the entrance, distribute tickets and be there should they need any sort of support on the day.
In the week ahead of the day, the weather wasn’t looking too great, which would have been a problem for many families attending, as their special mobility requirements would not allow them to be outside in the rain. But thankfully the weather held and was the perfect temperature for a day out at a big open air zoo like Whipsnade.
Once the morning was over, we arranged a meet for lunch, which was an excellent opportunity for families to meet each other.
We can’t run this day without the support of Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care; on the day Karen and Kelly from the Rennie Grove Peace Children’s play team also attended, helping families to further enjoy the day and offering support if needed. The play team are a vital part of the Children’s Hospice at Home team – they help children and their families affected by life-limiting illness have fun and make memories, in the home, at the Rennie Grove Peace Grove House centre, and at events such as this one.
We also organise smaller social events for families throughout the year, such as evening events for parents, that form part of our commitment to supporting the pediatric respite care offered by Rennie Grove Peace Hospice, and providing an enhanced quality of life for the families using the Children’s Hospice at Home service.
Also along for the day was Paula Aubrey, Assistant Director – IPU, Children & Admin at Rennie Grove Peace. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Karen, Kelly, and Paula for attending.
During the pandemic the Pepper Foundation was unable to operate family days out, which lead to further isolation for families caring for vulnerable children. So we are extremely pleased to once again be able to provide families with this sort of event.
You can help the Pepper Foundation ensure that family-centered hospice care is always available through the Children’s Hospice at Home service, by donating today.
Donate to the Pepper Foundation