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Project information

Help us care for Dorset's seriously ill children

Julia’s House cares for children with serious illnesses, like severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cancer, who sadly are unlikely to reach adulthood. We provide frequent respite and palliative care in children’s homes and in our hospice. We need to fund a new Carer to help care for these children.

January 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Julia's House - The Dorset and Wiltshire Children's Hospices

Julia's House - The Dorset and Wiltshire Children's Hospices logo
  • Need


    The NHS provides medical diagnosis and treatment for these children but there is limited provision for regular practical care support for the child and their family throughout the child’s life. Parents are often exhausted with the emotional, physical and financial strains of looking after their poorly child. Help from friends or family members is often limited too because the child’s complex medical needs make it difficult for them to help. Both parents and child often desperately need support.


    Julia’s House fills this gap in support. We provide regular care for these children throughout their lives. Our skilled and compassionate Carers look after these children, in our hospice or in the children’s home, for up to 6 hours at a time. During these respite sessions, the burden of care is completely lifted: mums, dads and siblings take precious time out to recharge, while the poorly child has fun through therapies (such as play, music and art) or an outing, or simply has a chance to relax.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve quality of life for 8-10 life-limited children in Dorset


    » Recruit a new full-time Carer to meet the children’s care requirements (such as feeding, bathing and changing) while also providing play and fun.
    » Via the Carer, incorporate play, art and music therapy into a child’s respite sessions.

    What success will look like

    At formal care reviews with parents and, where appropriate, the poorly child; plus ongoing observations and feedback from the Carer, therapists, child and parents.

    Aim 2

    To reduce feelings of isolation for these children and their families.


    » Help families get involved in our events programme for mums, dads and siblings, so they can form vital friendships and peer support networks.

    What success will look like

    Attendance at events, and feedback after events; plus reviews with parents (as above).

  • Impact


    Parents tell us that a visit by a Julia’s House Carer is often the only thing that keeps them going. Long term, we help parents regain a sense of ‘normal’, via regular breaks to recharge their batteries. We help parents care for, and play with, their child and we help each child reach their full potential. When a child sadly dies, we support families for up to 3 years to help them regain some peace. We evaluate the success of our work through annual reviews and continually adapt to feedback.


    There are no significant risks to this project. We have a strong track record of providing support for families with seriously ill children and we received ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (Jan 2015). There is a high level of demand for our services, with 109 families currently receiving support and referrals are increasing. Risk assessments are carried out for all home and hospice sessions, and full safeguarding policies are in place.


    Updates for donors will feature news from the Carer, facts and figures about the care provided and, where we have parental permission, quotes and feedback from the children and their families, plus photos.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £23,630

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £23,630 Carer salary Full-time including NI and pension
  • Background


    Julia’s House provides care for families across Dorset and in South Wiltshire. The Carer will be matched with 8-10 suitable families who could come from anywhere in Dorset. Some of the care sessions will take place in our warm, friendly and welcoming hospice in Corfe Mullen near Poole. However, many of the families we support struggle to travel with their poorly child, so some of the care (often over half) will be provided in the families’ homes or out in their local community.


    Our families come from a variety of financial and social backgrounds but nearly all struggle to cope with round-the-clock care for their child, and so benefit from our regular support. The poorly children benefit from our outstanding respite care throughout their life and palliative end-of-life care. Siblings benefit from our inclusive holistic service, helping reduce their anxiety and isolation. All of our services are free to the families we support.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Julia’s House is Dorset’s only children’s hospice and provides a unique and award-winning model of care: no other children’s hospice offers the same combination of frequent respite and palliative care in the hospice and at home, as well as providing support for the whole family. Since our first community nurses started work in 2003, we’ve established a strong track record in Dorset, and are now also expanding into Wiltshire. The Care Quality Commission rated our care ‘Outstanding’ (Jan 2015).

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ali Acaster

    Our Director of Care, Ali, oversees our nursing and carer teams. She was one of our first two community nurses and has been with us since 2003.

    Sue Keenan

    Play Maker Sue uses specialist play techniques and toys to help each child express themselves as fully as possible and to have fun.

    Jane Voce

    Art therapist Jane will support any bereaved siblings, using art to help them express their feelings and come to terms with their loss.

    Maria Carroll

    Sibling Worker Maria organises fun events for the siblings of poorly children, helping them make friends, and feel less isolated and less stressed.