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Project information

The Woodlands: Family Outreach & Respite Centre

There are over 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with life-threatening conditions. Our project will support families by providing outreach support to alleviate the day-to-day stress and pressure involved in providing 24 hour care, thereby reducing the risk of family breakdown.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Sebastian's Action Trust

Sebastian's Action Trust logo
  • Need


    Research indicates that families with seriously-ill children experience extreme pressure during their child’s life and beyond and that finding care and support is difficult. The children we support are some of the most seriously-ill in the UK and their families one of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups. Emotionally, the experience is devastating and families face isolation as friends and family members drift away, unable to cope with the enormity of the situation they are facing.


    We will provide families with dedicated, practical outreach support at our new centre (The Woodlands), in the local community, in hospital and in the home. This will include child support, finance and welfare advice, wellbeing (art and music therapy, horticultural therapy) and counselling. A calendar of events and activities will promote social inclusion and help to build a supportive peer to peer community. When the time comes, we will also provide whole family bereavement support.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce the social isolation felt by families caring for seriously-ill children


    » Provide access to specially organised events, activities and workshops to help build mutually supportive networks

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by the number of families attending events, activities and workshops leading to reduced isolation together with feedback from beneficiaries.

    Aim 2

    Provide practical and emotional support to families caring for seriously-ill children


    » Provide specialist finance and welfare advice and guidance
    » Provide one-to-one and group child and youth support

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by the number of families accessing disability grants and welfare support, together with signposting to other organisations offering additional services.

    Aim 3

    Help build resilience so that families caring for seriously-ill children feel more able to cope


    » Provide wellbeing therapies – including art and music therapy, horticultural therapy to promote better mental health
    » Provide one-to-one support for carers and also organise support groups to encourage families to share experiences

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by the number of families accessing specialist therapies and attending support groups and one-to-one support. Feedback will be sought from beneficiaries.

  • Impact


    The project will create a centre of excellence in the care and support of children with life-limiting conditions and their families helping to address the scarcity of resources available from local authorities and social services. We will demonstrate the success of this project by monitoring the uptake of our services and their impact on our families. Success will be defined as 70%+ of beneficiaries reporting improved wellbeing and coping skills and a reduction in isolation.


    The main risk would be a lack of funding for the project. This has been addressed via a three-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund, which covers 80% of our outreach service. We have a small but experienced fundraising team in place and operate a rolling programme of grant applications. We believe that our robust fundraising strategy combined with an organisational culture of philanthropy, will enable us to raise the balance of funding needed for the expansion of the service.


    We publish a bi-annual newsletter featuring updates on our work together with a comprehensive annual impact report. Our website also includes project updates and reports. We use social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter) to communicate with our supporters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £113,325

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £20,525 Salary Salary of part-time outreach worker
      £25,000 Activities Cost of providing a programme of activities
      £5,000 IT support and resources Costs of providing IT and resources
      £6,700 Charity Support Costs Supervision and other charity costs supporting the outreach service
      £5,000 Bereavement Care Resources to support activities for bereaved siblings and parents
      £26,100 Utilities Electricity, Gas, Water, Council Tax, Phones
      £25,000 Maintenance Repairs, Refurbishment, Cleaning
  • Background


    The project is located in Crowthorne village in the parish of Bracknell Forest in south east Berkshire. Crowthorne is part of the Reading/Wokingham Urban Area. The Woodlands outreach centre is set in a two and half acre former NHS site comprising an imposing Victorian house and other outbuildings which have been stylishly and sympathetically refurbished to create a calm, bespoke and inviting space for families to enjoy.


    Beneficiaries will be children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, their siblings and parents/carers. It is anticipated that annually circa 250-300 seriously-ill children will benefit from the project. Working on a nuclear family of four, a total of 1000-1200 individuals could benefit from the Woodlands. Additional beneficiaries will include the local community, which will provide volunteers for the charity, who play a significant role in delivering our core services.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Sebastian's Action Trust is a leading provider in the advocacy and care of families of seriously-ill children. With fifteen years' experience behind us, The Woodlands outreach centre builds on work we are already delivering and our track record to date. Increasing referrals and the need for a larger, more suitable space from which to deliver our growing outreach service has driven the creation of this second facility.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jane Gates OBE

    Chief Executive with overall responsibility for the charity and the project.

    Katie Cowie

    Director of Care, with overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of the outreach service.

    Catherine Norris

    Outreach Worker based at The Woodlands, directly working with and supporting our beneficiaries.

Sebastian's Action Trust - Who We Are