Making cultural venues accessible to children with life-limiting illnesses and their families

Children & the Arts Start Hospices programme, generously funded by The J Isaacs Charitable Trust and City Bridge Trust, provides funding and support to build long-term relationships between arts venues and childrens hospices. The programme provides opportunities for young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, and their families, to experience the arts together. For these families coping with the logistical and emotional difficulties of caring for a sick child, the chance to take part in an immersive experience that contributes shared memories and joy is rare and valuable.

The complexity of care required by most children receiving support from a hospice service means that they and their family are rarely able to go on outings or visits together. In addition, their siblings can often miss out on opportunities to take part in activities and events that their peers are able to enjoy more easily and can feel over-looked. The Start Hospices programme is intended to give participants the opportunity to have fun together as a family away from the demands of their daily lives and to begin to build a relationship and familiarity with a venue that will encourage them to return.

Start Hospices Partners

During the academic year 2014-2015 Children & the Arts is happy to continue nurturing relations between the following partnerships:

artsdepot & Noah Ark Childrens Hospice

Clywd Theatr Cymru & Ty Gobaith/Hope House

DanceEast & East Anglia Children  Hospices (EACH) Treehouse

Fitzwilliam Museum & East Anglia Children Hospices (EACH) – Milton

Northern Ballet & Martin House Hospice

Rambert & Richard House Hospice

Seven Stories & St Oswald Hospice

Shared Experiences

The meticulous planning that goes into the events means that parents can feel reassured that they will be in an exceptional space where they will feel welcomed and know that their child’s needs have been catered for. This allows them to relax and focus on spending time with their children.

The projects have also contributed towards building communities within hospices. One participating Hospice, the Treehouse branch of EACH in Ipswich, reported that parents involved in a flash mob event organised as part of their Start Hospices project have bonded through the uplifting experience of learning to sing and dance together in a public space. Many were previously isolated and have now formed supportive relationships that have allowed them to share their experiences.

Start Hospices is generously funded by The J Isaacs Charitable Trust and City Bridge Trust.