Project information

Care & Support at St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice

We provide short breaks for children with progressive, life-shortening conditions, focusing on quality of life and supporting their whole family. Donations will fund a Care Support Worker: an essential part of the service working with children to enhance their physical and emotional wellbeing.

January 2017 - January 2018

Charity information

St Oswald's Hospice

St Oswald's Hospice logo
  • Need


    Hearing the news your child has a life limiting illness changes your life forever & opens up an uncertain future.

    Before our Children’s Service opened in 2003 there was little support available for families in this situation to help them to cope with the difficulties of caring for a child with multiple, complex needs.

    Life for these children could be extremely isolated & restricted, offering little opportunity for social interaction & the chance to take part in activities we take for granted.


    Care Support Workers ensure our breaks are about having fun, discovering new experiences & enjoying time in a happy, caring, stimulating environment.

    They make St Oswald’s a special place to be. They offer companionship & conversation. They facilitate the fun element of our short breaks running activities & social groups. They help children to fulfil wishes & aspirations & create precious memories.

    They also help to ensure families receive the practical & emotional support they need.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the physical wellbeing of children we care for at St Oswald's.


    » Assess each child’s physical needs.
    » Set clear targets to ensure their physical wellbeing is maintained or improved (e.g. sitting in an upright position for a designated period of time).
    » Work closely with Children’s Service physiotherapist to incorporate physiotherapy targets into general play & activities.

    Keep a clear record of activities undertaken to achieve set aims.
    Regular review sessions with children and their families.
    Formal assessments carried out by physiotherapist.

    Aim 2

    Improve the emotional wellbeing of children we care for at St Oswald's.


    » Assess each child’s emotional needs and set appropriate targets (e.g. improve communication & social interaction with caregivers & peers).
    » Listen to parent’s concerns about their child’s behaviour and agreeing joint strategies to tackle any issues.
    » Get to know each child as an individual & discuss their interests, likes & dislikes with them or their family.
    » Plan & deliver activities related to interests to achieve targets (e.g. activities such as music or art therapy to explore & express emotions) .

    Regular review sessions with families & where possible discussing directly with the child their thoughts on the service, encouraging them to focus on progress they have made.

    Aim 3

    Encourage children to build friendships & peer support networks with others who use the service.


    » Run monthly social groups for young people and families to attend together and try new activities.
    » Allow the service to be driven by the children where possible by encouraging them to make suggestions for activities & making this a reality.
    » Identify shared interests amongst the children and planning joint activities e.g. sleepovers for young teens, music making, trips out.
    » Encourage children’s independence and ‘time away from mum and dad’.

    Gather feedback from any group activities, monthly social groups and Family Support Days to evaluate and monitor success. Care Support Worker assessing child’s progress.

    Aim 4

    Run activities to create precious memories for children and their families.


    » Organise day trips (e.g. to the cinema, shopping or to the beach).
    » Identify & build relationships with local arts and sports groups or providers to run sessions with the children at the hospice.
    » Share feedback, pictures & keepsakes from activities with families (e.g. music CD created in music therapy session ‘Old St Oswald’s have a band’).

    Keeping a clear record of activities taken to achieve this aim and gathering feedback from children and families.

    Aim 5

    Ensure our service offers support to the whole family & improve the wellbeing of parents & siblings.


    » Provide three night breaks for children so parents have the opportunity to relax or spend time with siblings.
    » Assist at Family Fun Days, activity days for the whole family to take part in & spend time together doing something new.
    » Help with 'Sibz Days' for siblings aged 5-16 to take part in activities & share thoughts & feelings with other children in the same position.
    » Assist at 'Ozzy Days': bereavement support groups for children helping them to explore and understand their emotions in creative ways.

    Family questionnaires to be completed by parents to evaluate the service, using feedback to demonstrate and monitor success.

  • Impact


    Regular stays at St Oswald’s enhance the lives of the children we care for. Care Support Workers build strong relationships with the children, encouraging their growth & confidence.
    We are frequently told we are a vital lifeline for families; giving parents important respite & time with siblings, somewhere to turn to when they are overwhelmed & the reassurance that their child is in a safe, stimulating environment.
    We will demonstrate long term successes through regular feedback & evaluation.


    Commissioners could stop referring children to the service. To prevent this we are in regular communication & have inspections to ensure we are providing the service that commissioners feel meet the needs of local families.

    A lack of funding or donations could mean that we are unable to continue to support children and families in need of our service or continue to employ essential Care Support Worker roles.


    We will report directly to donors via mail, telephone, face to face communications & offer visits to the Children’s Service. Communications through website and social media. We will share stories, pictures and testimonials of how this role is making a difference to the lives of children we care for.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,456

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,456 Salary costs Care Support Worker Salary
  • Background


    Our purpose built hospice is based in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne & provides care for children from Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North & South Tyneside, Durham & Sunderland.
    The region has a high concentration of the country’s most deprived areas, the highest regional unemployment rate and poor health and life expectancy rates compared to the England average.
    We care for children and families from a range of backgrounds from across the region, many are from socially deprived areas.


    We support 69 children & young adults (age 0-25) & their families.
    Children have progressive health conditions, likely to result in shortened life expectancy. Each year we care for a higher number of younger children (last year one third were under 3 years old) & see increased levels of complexity of need requiring specialist care & round the clock supervision.
    Children at our service have been identified as requiring short breaks to support their health, social, emotional & spiritual needs.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The children we care for have such complex needs that St Oswald’s is the only facility in the area that is suitable in terms of staffing and equipment to provide them with pre-arranged short breaks. Put simply, there is nowhere else for these children and families to receive the care and support they need.
    Care Support Works are an essential part of the St Oswald’s Service, creating the fun and special moments which enhance children’s lives.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Carole Dixon - Children’S Service Manager

    Heads our team of nurses, physios, healthcare assistants, care support workers and administrators.

    Sally Moody - Clinical Lead Nurse

    Ensures all clinical staff adhere to best practice and the highest standards of care.

    Ray Fenwick – Care Support Worker

    Donations would support Ray’s role for 1 year to work closely with children, organising sensory activities, therapeutic play & day trips.

    Hilary Brewis – Children & Young Adults Physiotherapist

    Hilary works closely with our Care Support Workers to incorporate physiotherapy exercise into everyday activities and play.

My daughter and I were struggling. Born a healthy, happy little girl, our lives changed forever when she suffered a bleed on the brain. She now needs round the clock care. I felt like no one really understood our situation, that we were totally alone. Then we were told about St Oswald’s Hospice.

Quote from a father whose daughter, aged 13, stays at St Oswald’s for regular short breaks