Kids spell out bright future for Scotland's Children's Hospices

7 June 2017

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) has teamed up with a group of creative youngsters supported by its services to design a new look for the organisation.

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The ‘CHAS Alphabet’ is made up of over 60 bright and beautiful letters, each with a unique story behind it relating to the designer. It forms part of the charity’s plans to reach every family in Scotland who could benefit from its care.

The alphabet is part of the charity’s ambitious new fundraising campaign, Keep the Joy Alive, which aims to double its income over the next five years to help CHAS achieve its ambition of reaching every family who needs its help in Scotland.

It is hoped that people across Scotland will back the campaign by spelling out their name in the new CHAS alphabet, which is available in sticker form, sharing it on social media and sending their CHAS name to the charity for them to collect. The names will be used to create a major event later this year.

Ground-breaking research carried out by CHAS in 2015 showed that, at present, it only supports one in three children who die of a life-shortening condition in Scotland. The charity wants to be there for them all. Keep the Joy Alive will help to spread awareness of the vital work of CHAS in communities across Scotland.

CHAS Chief Executive, Maria McGill, said:“Sadly too many families are facing the heartbreak of losing a child without the support that only CHAS can give.

“We want to make sure that wherever there’s a child in Scotland with a life-shortening condition, we’re on hand to support their entire family. Of course to do that we need to increase our income. Our beautiful new CHAS alphabet will play a key part in helping us achieve this goal.

“We’re rightly proud of our new alphabet – the children really were the best designers for the job and their creations perfectly capture who we are and the care we provide. Thanks to all the children for giving us a beautiful new look.”

The CHAS alphabet includes flowers, handprints, giraffes and of course the iconic rocking horse! It will be rolled out across all the charity’s sites over the coming months.

The new fundraising campaign is part of CHAS’ strategy Reaching Every Family in Scotland, which was also launched this week and sets out how the charity will be there for every family in Scotland that needs it.

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One family the charity currently supports are the Scotts. Their son, Adam Meldrum is 16 years old. He has a rare chromosomal deletion disorder, a visual impairment and epilepsy. Despite this, Adam is a very active, he uses a wheelchair and does not communicate verbally but can communicate his likes and needs through body language. The family receive home care and also visit the hospice for time together as a family.

Adam’s mum, Lynne, said:“CHAS has been there for us at the most challenging times and continues to be a massive support to our whole family. For us, Rachel House quite simply enables us to have a rest. Adam always enjoys our time there, we all do, it’s full of joy and the whole family can relax and have fun. Adam loves the jacuzzi and the multi-sensory room with lights and sounds where he gives the care team the biggest smiles.

“We’re delighted that Adam and his sisters have been given the opportunity to be part of shaping the future of CHAS, they had great fun getting creative and becoming designers for the day! I hope people across Scotland will show their support so that CHAS can continue to help families keep the joy alive at the most difficult times imaginable."

Gordon Dickson, chairperson of CHAS,said:“For over twenty years, we have been caring for children and their families by offering palliative care, family respite and support.

“We know the difference our services have made to those families and that is why we are committed to reaching more children. It is fitting that the children we care for are at the forefront of our campaign to bring that support to more families who need it.”

CHAS cares for families and their babies, children and young people by offering palliative care, family respite and support at its two hospices, Rachel House and Robin House. Its CHAS at Home team brings its services to families’ homes throughout the whole of Scotland. CHAS also works in communities and hospitals across Scotland.

For more information on the campaign and Reaching Every Family visit:  www.keepthejoyalive.org.uk