The Berkeley Foundation has renewed its partnership with Richard House Children's Hospice, pledging £60,000 per year for a further three years toward the charity's work with children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.
Richard House was London's first children's hospice and today works with over 300 families from East and North London, and South Essex.
One of the children the charity supports is 18-month old Murshid. His mum explains:
"We receive Hospice at Home care six hours a week, as Murshid has life-limiting illnesses. Complications during birth meant that he had a lack of oxygen and a spinal cord injury. As a result, he is paralysed and requires the use of a ventilator.
"We were able to use step-down care at Richard House when we came out of hospital and the support we received was brilliant.
"Play and Care Worker Sukaynah organises plenty of sensory games for my son which helps greatly with his development. Each visit means that I can do everyday things like grocery shopping, housework, the washing, cleaning or I can just get some fresh air.
"I feel safe knowing that before each visit, Sukaynah has taken a COVID test and changes into full PPE as soon as soon as she arrives, in order to ensure the safety of Murshid and the family.
"Murshid is able to interact and bond with his two siblings over activities during Hospice at Home visits which is brilliant, and you can tell that his mood improves after every visit.
"Richard House has helped us a lot, as well as other vulnerable children and their families in need. They have brought happiness to us as parents, as a family and to others also."
Sukaynah is the Play and Care Worker who supports Murshid and his family. She comments:
"Murshid can't walk or move and massage helps to strengthen his body and provides the opportunity for him to have human interaction, as life-limited children often don't have the chance to interact with others.
"I created a sensory book with items of a variety of different textures and feels including foil, feathers and sponges. It's great to see Murshid's facial expressions during sensory play, you can tell he really enjoys it. He is non-verbal but hearing his laugher is really heartening.
"Hospice at Home is also an opportunity for Murshid to try new things and so we often create art together. The week before Mother's Day we created a card for his mum, and it brought a big smile to her face when she saw it.
"Hospice at Home has been beneficial for the whole family - particularly during lockdown as they are shielding. It's lovely to see Murshid's siblings get involved in some of the activities and interact with their brother. His older sisters enjoy talking about everyday things with me whilst I am there, and being there to care for Murshid also enables them to have their own time out as children, away from the responsibilities of helping to care for a sibling with life-limiting illness.
"The visits also enable Murshid's mum and I to bounce ideas off one another to build his development. I love that! His Physiotherapist suggested a variety of activities to help with his development, and his mum and I were able to come up with the idea of sitting him at the table for messy play as part of this. We can still do many things with Murshid step by step and he will develop in his own time, in his own way."
The Berkeley Foundation has been supporting Richard House since 2011. Our partnership supports training and development for the hospice's specialist clinical staff, ensuring that the team is equipped to care for even more children with complex health conditions.