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


 Participating Parent, Start Hospices

Around 50,000 children in the UK are having to cope with life-limiting illnesses. Many of them rely on crucial support from their local hospice, but the complexity of care that these children need means that even something as simple as leaving the house together can be extremely difficult. A family outing can be fraught with obstacles. Will the building have wheelchair access? Is there disabled parking? Adequate changing facilities? Will there be a safe place to give medicines or treatments? Will the food available be digestible for a poorly child? And, will the activities on offer engage all members of the family?


In the face of these complications, many families with children in hospice care simply don’t go out at all.

The siblings got quite a lot out of having time just for them to work on their own projects and have time away from their familes and just concentrate on what was going on for them.

Hospice Partner, Start Hospices

Life-limiting illness doesn’t just affect the sick child. Their siblings miss out on opportunities, too. A recent study by The Family Fund revealed that many siblings of severely disabled children are often overlooked by policy makers and service providers, and very often simply do not receive the same level of attention or one-to-one time with their parents as their poorly sibling. The reasons for this are obvious, but no less harmful.


The same study also revealed that there is often inadequate support for siblings from outside the home from local authorities, schools, and Young Carer support groups. What’s more, the impact of having a severely ill brother or sister pass away at a young age can be long-lasting and devastating for their brothers and sisters.

It was a life-changing experience - I wasn't prepared for so much laughter.

Arts Venue Partner, Start Hospices


At Children & the Arts we wanted to change this, to find a way to give families much-needed opportunities to interact with the arts and, most importantly, to share that experience. So, in 2011, we introduced our ground-breaking Start Hospices Programme in 2011.

You can support Start Hospices by Donating Now

Banner Image © Tony O'Connell