Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Forget Me Not Hospice - A Truly Inspirational Place!

Blown away, inspired and high spirited were just a few of the emotions that were running through me this morning when I left from my visit to the Forget Me Not hospice in Huddersfield.  It was a visit that I had been looking forward to for a while as senior fundraiser - Gaynor Bearder had been telling me about it for quite some time with great passion.  Through Gaynor's previous explanations of the place, I knew it was going to be amazing - but after leaving this morning, this is a word that doesn't even come close...

The Forget Me Not charity was set up around 12 years ago by a local mum whose child became extremely ill and needed the care of a hospice.  After looking into this kind of support in her local community when she really needed it, she realised that it was actually extremely limited and wasn't really there.  Due to this, through her own experience of feeling a lack of support, she set about changing things within the community and the result was the Forget Me Not charity. 

The Forget Me Not charity has been raising funds that help to support children with life limiting conditions and their families for many years now through fantastic events such as the upcoming 'Santa dash'.  Their events are well known for fun and vibrance and the money raised from them helps to make a massive difference to the children and families who really need this support at a time that is particularly hard.  

The constant passion and hard work from the team at Forget Me Not has now also seen the opening of their first hospice building - Russell House -  which I visited this morning and let me tell you, right from your arrival...it just knocks your socks off! 

Forget Me Not children's hospice - Huddersfield
The building has been so well thought out it's unbelievable and every little detail and more has been included in order to make the lives of the children and their families who stay there easier and full of vivacious quality - for whatever time they may have left due to their illnesses.  The idea of the hospice was not just to provide optimum care for the poorly children, but for the parents and siblings of the child too as it is a hard time for them all.

The building is bright and airy with gorgeous splashes of colour everywhere and each room has a different purpose.  There is a huge, comfy central area first of all when you walk in for eating and chilling out where the families can watch T.V., play games, get messily creative or just sit and chat.  This kind of felt like it was the main hub of the place too and had a really nice buzz of heart warming people coming and going who are all there for one purpose - to make the lives of the children and families staying there better - in fact, the staff that work there all have one motive that they feel very passionate about and this really shines through by their motto 'one team, one dream!'

The other thing that really stood out about the hospice was the state of the art equipment that filled every room - in rooms such as the sensory room, the four bedrooms, the swimming pool room and the teenage room, there was equipment that just blew me away!  This equipment had three purposes - the first to help the children get around and do things easier, the second to create an astonishing sensory experience that helps to instill calm and happiness whilst they are there and the third to create highly loved memories that will last forever.

As well as plenty to do for the children, also included at the hospice is a therapy room for parents too.  This is a lovely little place where they can go and have something like a massage maybe in order for them to just have that little bit of time out and rejuvenate their mind during such a difficult time.  So, as you can see, the team at Forget Me Not have thought of and care for the whole family!

The main building and the bedrooms are connected by one of the most beautiful corridors I have ever seen.  Down the corridor, there is a wall of colourful glass bricks that shimmer in the sunlight - this is named 'the celebration wall'.  Each of the blocks is available to buy by either fundraising or donating money to the chairty and once they are all bought it means that 1.6 million pounds will have been raised for the charity. 

Once you have purchased a block, you can then have it engraved with a memory or perhaps just something that creates a sense of happiness - for instance, one of the blocks said 'ripe tomatoes and sparkling bling' or another - which I really loved, said 'nothing happens unless we dream first' the latter, I thought said everything about the hospice - a dream of one woman whilst going through a difficult time has now become reality - very poignant I thought.  Seeing all of these thoughts together being highlighted by the sunlight actually moved me to tears - it was so beautiful!

The celebration wall - positive, inspiring messages that are filled with love

My trip to this totally energizing place inspired me greatly but made me realise that charities like this need all the help that they can get from the local community in order to keep going and there are approximately 700 families in the Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield area that could need the use of the Forget Me Not building at some point.  

The hospice costs around £7000 a day to run and only receives around 4% of the money needed per year from government funding due to it being a children's charity -  if it were an adult charity, it would receive up to 40% of the money needed - so as you can see, they need all the help that they can get.

If, after reading this post you now feel as inspired as me about the Forget Me Not hospice and you fancy helping out - whether its doing a bit of fundraising or maybe volunteering to help out, please get in touch with Gaynor Bearder who will gladly speak to you and tell you all about what's currently going on to raise money for Forget Me Not.  Please email her directly on:


Gaynor is always happy to talk to anyone about it and has a real passion like the rest of the team to drive the hospice forward in order to create the happiest of long lasting memories for the children and their families who don't have much longer to live.  

Love and memories mean absolutely everything to the families of the children who die due to illness and the Forget Me Not hospice creates both of these things to the very highest degree!  In order to keep these amazing memories going though, the hospice needs people like you to help out so please....if you can help - get in touch, no matter how much you put in, every little bit helps and this will mean that those memories will carry on being created for a long time to come!

Nothing happens unless we dream first....