Start Hospices creates opportunities for children coping with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions to have therapeutic arts experiences outside of the hospice environment, creating happy memories with their families.

Arts venues and hospices working together

Start Hospices is a UK-wide programme that enables arts venues to partner with local children’s hospices for the first time. Children & the Arts provides funding and programme support to create long-term partnerships.

By working closely with our partners, we design inspiring and immersive three year cultural programmes that meet the unique needs of the children and families who use the hospices, many of whom miss out on the usual family activities, trips out and creative experiences due to the emotional, medical and logistical challenges.

Overcoming barriers

Start Hospices overcomes these barriers and gives families a chance to enjoy activities together that bring respite, release and joy into their lives.

“It’s nice to see some other families and work with them. Then you know it’s not just you. There are lots of other children like yours and you can still enjoy the things you did before”. 

Parent, Start Hospices

Making memories

As well as specialist arts activities for the poorly child and their family to take part in, we produce activities specifically dedicated for the siblings, who often get overlooked. Each project offers opportunities to bereaved families to remember happy times, talk to other families and find a creative outlet. 

“Today is a way of building up happy memories, from a time of great distress and loss.” 

Parent, Start Hospices

Improving Lives

Young children in particular often do not have the words to express how they are feeling. The arts create a platform for visual communication, and our programme takes children into a new space, with new people, where they are encouraged to be themselves.

By taking part in therapeutic, creative activities Start Hospices can impact personal fulfilment, encourage relaxation, stress-reduction and support symptom relief and physical rehabilitation.

Start Hospices partnership between the egg theatre and Children's Hospice South West. 


Banner Image © Damien Wooten