At times, we are all finding the COVID-19 ‘new normal’ difficult to get used to and here at Demelza, the crisis has affected every aspect of our work. We have had to adapt our services with great speed and ingenuity to ensure we can continue to support the children and young people with terminal conditions, and their families, across Kent.

At this time, the need for our services is greater than ever before but our fundraising is significantly restricted. This is why we are so incredibly grateful for the generous and ongoing support of the Cantiacorum Foundation. Not only are they supportive and interested in our work but they are responsive and understanding to our needs (especially during this time of change and uncertainty).

We are currently having to ‘zone’ the hospice to ensure the safety of families by minimising the risk of infection. In June, despite the disruption that lock down brought upon the country, the Cantiacorum Foundation funded some much-needed swipe access equipment to go on some of the doors within the hospice. This has enabled us to maintain privacy as well as help with infection control within our care area, ultimately helping to protect families and nurses from the COVID-19 virus.

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Having help in the form of a bursary allowed us to have a family holiday that we simply couldn't have afforded without financial assistance. It is reasonably easy to find adapted accommodation that we could book for a holiday but the question for us is always then what do we do while we are there. Calvert gave us that answer, suitable accommodation and varied activities. Having visited the year before we knew that it would be suitable and what to expect so it took a lot of the stress and worry away. It is hard work organising and packing everything for a child with complex needs but being able to use equipment such as hoists and having a laundry room and drying room was a big plus for us. It is great for my son to try so many different activities that we don't easily get to do anywhere else. For me Calvert is a safe place, where my son can be himself, where no one judges or stares, where everyone encourages each other. This means we can relax and enjoy time with my son, we can celebrate what he can do, we don't spend the week apologising to people that we need to get the wheelchair through or need space for a wheelchair at a dinner table or saying sorry for the noise he is making. This is what makes Calvert special and we have created some amazing memories from our holidays with you. 

Sally Collett, Adam’s Mum

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Connecting sight, sound and life.

Specialist Services for children and young people with deafblindness.

Cantiacorum Foundation has supported Sense’s work in Kent since 2013 when we first introduced them to the difficulties of people living with deafblindness in the area. Sense supports children and adults with deafblindness in many different ways, including respite holidays, supported living, and specialist services for children to enable them to get the best start in life. We teach communication and daily living skills to people with deafblindness, and enable them to try exciting new experiences that many of us take for granted. In addition, funding from the Foundation has enabled Sense to teach parents skills they need to help their deafblind child themselves and to feel empowered to fight for their rights in the health, education and social care system.

Sense’s most recent donation from Cantiacorum Foundation came in summer 2019 to enable us to provide our specialist support to two children in Kent. We have advocated for one family to get their child into the appropriate school placement with the right Local Authority support and carried out home visits to another child to teach deafblind manual sign language which will enable the family to communicate with their child for the very first time. This life-changing work is charitably funded and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of generous funders such as Cantiacorum Foundation. Thank you!

An extract from the grandmother of one of the children we support who recently attended our Family Day:

The staff had gone above and beyond to cater for so many children and young people: face painting, trampolining, swimming, arts and crafts and even cooking were all on offer, generously resourced. In the current economic climate, when difficult decisions have to be made about expenditure, we greatly appreciated the priority and resourcing given to this family day. What made it very special was the helpfulness and the friendliness of the SENSE staff, including the catering staff. Our first Christmas dinner of the festive season in November! The arrival of Father Christmas added to the excitement - how terrific that the children’s names were signed in BSL.

As importantly as the enjoyment of the children, was the opportunity for families to get together and simply chat. Parents (and grand parents) of disabled children so often feel isolated and whilst social media has been a huge enabler, meeting other families face to face cannot be under estimated. Thank you so very much.

Jennifer Clough

Trust Officer

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