We've moved!

This donation page is on the old Big Give website. Please go to theBigGive.org.uk to find current campaigns and opportunities to double your donation.

If you have any queries on the changes, please email us at info@thebiggive.org.uk.

Project information

Create magical moments for seriously ill children

Julia’s House wants every child to have access to high quality play; making special moments as well as helping them to flourish and reach their full potential, no matter how poorly they may be.

January 2019 - December 2019

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

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


    Parents of life-limited children are constantly told what their child can’t do – we want to show them what they can do and help their child reach their full potential. Many parents lack the confidence to simply play with their child, especially with no access to specialist toys. Some children also have anxieties and phobias that can only be addressed through specialist play. With our support everyone can play their part in developing these children’s potential, creating the biggest smiles.


    Play is an essential part of any child’s development helping them express themselves, experience choice and precious feelings of being in control, and most importantly, to have fun. Our play team create tailored play plans combining specialist toys and sensory equipment with a can-do ethos to ensure each child is stimulated, having fun and empowered to do as much as possible. Play techniques can also help eliminate children’s anxieties and phobias that parents often struggle to resolve.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the quality of life for life-limited children by ensuring they have access to quality play


    » Create tailored play plans to ensure each child can develop, and experience a sense of control, achievement and fun
    » Use stimulation and distraction techniques, incorporating individually selected specialist toys and sensory equipment
    » Incorporate play, art and music therapy into a child’s respite sessions

    What success will look like

    Children having fun while fulfilling their potential regardless of their physical or mental ability.

    Aim 2

    Empower families to have the confidence to play with their seriously ill child


    » Share play techniques with all involved in the care of the child including schools and family members so the child has continuity of care and play

    What success will look like

    Families playing together confidently, a simple pleasure that all families should be able to enjoy.

  • Impact


    Seriously ill children will have fun and reach their full potential through play. Families will have increased confidence in how to engage in play according to their child’s capabilities. Any children’s anxieties and phobias – such as using a hoist or a change of routine – will be reduced or completely eliminated, making life easier and less stressful for the whole family. We evaluate the success of our work through regular reviews and continually adapt to feedback from the child and family.


    There are no significant risks to this project. We have a strong track record of providing support for families with seriously ill children and have been awarded the Outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission. Our play therapy approach has been successfully established for more than 15 years, and we monitor and evaluate it regularly. Risk assessments are carried out for home and hospice sessions, and full safeguarding policies are in place.


    Donors to the project will receive an end-of-year report, featuring photos and quotes from the play team, and where possible stories from families. All donors will be invited to a tour of one of our hospices.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £36,063 Salaries Annual cost of two specialist members of our play team for a combined total of 43 hours a week
      £3,937 Play costs A fund for specialist toys and sensory equipment
  • Background


    Some of our play sessions take place in our two warm, friendly, and welcoming hospices in Corfe Mullen (Dorset) and Devizes (Wiltshire). However, as many of the families we support struggle to travel with their poorly child, some of the care will be provided in the families’ homes or out in their local community.


    The life-limited children aged 0-18 that we support will benefit from our outstanding respite care throughout their life, which focuses around play and making happy memories. Equally, families will benefit by knowing their child is having fun and receiving the highest-quality care, while they all get regular breaks.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Julia’s House provides a unique and award-winning model of care. We are the only children’s hospice in Dorset and Wiltshire, offering a combination of frequent respite and palliative care, as well as providing support for the whole family. Since 2003, we’ve established a strong track record in Dorset and now in Wiltshire, receiving an ‘Outstanding’ rating from The Care Quality Commission at our last inspection.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sue Keenan

    Play Maker Sue develops play plans using specialist play techniques and toys to help each child express themselves as fully as possible and have fun!

    Stacey Osbourne

    Playmaker Assistant Stacey has a vital role in planning the activity sessions for both the hospices and in the community.


could pay for a child to enjoy a fun-filled 6 hour hospice session complete with play and therapies

“I always knew my child was still behind those eyes…I just didn’t know how to reach him until now.”

A Julia’s House parent after a recent play session