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Our AGM is usually an opportunity to celebrate the previous financial year. As you can imagine, this year’s was slightly different as we could not have our trustees, staff and volunteers in one (virtual) room without talking about the current COVID-19 crisis. 

However, celebrate our achievements we did! With the support of amazing donors like the Cantiacorum Foundation, we provided:

· Direct care to 642 children and young people

· Care to several hundred more children as part of our hospital in-reach programme at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital

· Care and support to around 4,000 individuals (children, young people and family members)

· 665 Care at Home sessions to 41 families in Kent and 91 families in East Sussex

· 2,000 Volunteer hours directly supporting our families

In terms of the here and now, we are embracing our new normal and continuing to support our families in new and innovative ways. We are determined to help our families through this unpredictable and uncertain  time, whilst supporting them out of shielding so they can carry on making the most of their short time together.

We are currently finalising a ‘Reset and Recovery Plan’ which will run until April 2022 giving us a road map out of the pandemic emergency and will help to protect our long-term sustainability. One of the positives of the pandemic and more communication via digital means is the huge increase in conversations with families; all of our current and future plans are underpinned by feedback and consultation with families (more than ever before).

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Throughout my school career, singing has been an important part of my musical development. Prior to studying at the King’s School, singing was my weakest discipline and I had little confidence in my ability.  However, learning proper singing technique in my lessons and being involved in so much choral music at school has allowed my confidence to grow significantly. My early entry into the school’s flagship choral ensemble ‘The Crypt Choir’, and subsequently into ‘The Chamber Choir’ (the school’s specialist chamber ensemble) has enabled me to discover a love of choral music. Furthermore, my election to sing in the all Girls’ close-harmony group, which I now lead, has been invaluable and highly enjoyable. The singing lessons that I have had for the past 5 years have enabled me to achieve much - partaking and performing in several operatic projects, such as Mozart’s ’The Marriage of Figaro’ and Handel’s ‘Theodora’, whilst currently singing one-to-a-part in our chamber music programme.  I am also proud to have now obtained my Grade 8 singing with distinction. This would all not have been possible if it weren’t for the support of my singing lessons or Cantiacorum Foundation. Singing is a part of my musical identity, and I am grateful to have had so many wonderful opportunities.

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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