Our visit to Demelza House
Each and every year, The Kings Ferry support a number of chosen charities, offering both our coach services and monetary support, funded by our internal efforts to raise money through: bake sales, dress down days, themed events and much more.
One charity we regularly choose to support is Demelza Hospice Care for Children. The charity works tirelessly to make life better for babies, children and young people who have life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, and to support their parents, brothers and sisters, and all those who love them.
Demelza have been providing this care since 1998 and, through the generosity of others, can continue to be there for families for years to come: Helping those who may not live a long life, to live a full life.
In April 2018, two members of The Kings Ferry Engagement Team, Cassie and Gemma, took a trip to Demelza House in Sittingbourne to find out what more The Kings Ferry can do to support this fantastic charity, but also to really understand how a donation, no matter how big or how small can really make a difference to the support and care the Demelza offers, and to the lives of those that Demelza cares for.
Until you walk into the hospice, your initial thoughts would probably be along the same lines are ours – and that the house would be a very sad place, and that children come here for one reason. Of course, there are some extremely heart wrenching elements to the hospice, but what is inside truly does take your breath away. From the vibrant sensory rooms and the incredible support of all the staff and volunteers. And one extremely important factor to note is that even though the hospice does offer rooms to those reaching the end of their short yet incredible lives, the charity is a support network for children and their families, offering an escape from day to day life, with no fear for the child’s safety. The care team are fully trained to deal with any incidents, so the family can relax and feel safe in the knowledge that their loved ones are in the perfect environment.
Children and their families can chose when they wish to visit the hospice, and many children book days together with friends they have made at Demelza House to really make the most of their time there; and if one child cannot make it, they rearrange their day to make sure they are together – now that really does show you the beautiful, heart-warming side of Demelza House.
Through our tour of Demelza, we discovered incredible facilities; from hydrotherapy pools, soft play rooms with built in sensory activities, to rooms built for young adults, with games consoles and kitchen facilities to enable them to have that sense of freedom and responsibility that they might not quite get anywhere else.
Our initial thoughts of sadness and pain were immediately overpowered by the happiness that fills the walls and rooms of Demelza House. The continuous strokes of colour, the large garden area with a play ship and pond, to the music and art rooms that allow children to really express themselves when they may have the inability to do so verbally or physically. This was far beyond our expectations and immediately changed our perspective on what Demelza House is truly about.
“Demelza House is honestly a beautiful place. Yes there are some sad areas, but the charity is not about that. The work the staff and volunteers do here is phenomenal, and the really do make a huge difference. I have visited here previously, and even upon my return I am taken back by the incredible work and even by how happy everyone here is. It is an incredible place full of happiness – the team really deserves all the credit they get and more!”
Gemma, The Kings Ferry
For those who do live out their life in this incredible sanctuary of joy and happiness, the team go the extra mile to help the bereaved and to allow the memory of loved ones to live on. Set out at the back of the house is a beautiful garden which hosts a pond filled with stones. Each stone has a name upon it of a loved one who spent their time at the hospice. It is an area where family and friends can cherish fond and special memories, where the children are never forgotten and where families are able to come together to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us.
“Visiting Demelza really opened my eyes to what an amazing charity they are. It is an emotional place to visit but not in a sad way, it shows the difference a place like this can have and turns what is a difficult period in someone’s life into a more uplifting and positive experience than it would be without Demelza. We’ve all read about the charity, seen videos and photos but seeing the place in person put everything into perspective. From the importance of the donations that are made, no matter how big or small they may be, to the volunteers who help out and the staff who work day in day out to improve people’s quality of life and help give them as much of a normal childhood as they can. Demelza really are such a remarkable charity.”
Cassie , The Kings Ferry
Every penny donated to the charity goes a long way to supporting the children, staff and enabling the purchase of equipment that is used to care for the children and make their time at Demelza that extra bit special. The charity need to raise £10.5 million a year to continue running. Unfortunately, the government funding only makes up 20% of this target, the rest is funded through their own charity events and of course the support from others. Just £60 can give a child a therapy session in music and art, and £1,000 covers a single nights’ care in the hospice. From this you can see not only how every donation makes a different, but that the charity really does need everyone’s support.
This year, members of The Kings Ferry team are taking part in September’s London to Brighton Bike Ride for Demelza House. As a team we would be grateful for your support, but the reason behind this event is much bigger than us, so to help make a difference in a child’s life, please visit our Just Giving Page or share this post.
A word from Demelza…
Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides vital care to seriously and terminally ill children and their loved ones across Kent, South East London and East Sussex. Demelza cares for 650 children and their families each year and has a hospice in Sittingbourne and in Eltham. Demelza is reliant on support from the public so we are grateful to be chosen as one of the charities for Kings Ferry!