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Project information

The Bluebells - Family Respite Holidays

The Bluebells is the UK's first family respite holiday home which provides a safe and supportive environment for families with seriously-ill and life-limited children to rest, relax, recharge and build precious memories together away from the stresses of hospital life and an uncertain future.

The project is ongoing

Charity information: Sebastian's Action Trust

Sebastian's Action Trust logo
  • Need


    The demands of living with a seriously ill child have a huge impact on the whole family. This often results in a dramatic loss in family time due to frequent visits and admissions to hospital/hospices.

    Juggling work commitments with caring for a sick child may lead to financial loss, increasing stress and fatigue in what is already an extremely challenging situation. These families need time away together, but circumstances prevent this as booking normal holidays is virtually impossible.


    The Bluebells provides respite holidays for families of life-limited and seriously-ill children enabling them to spend precious time together in privacy. The house contains two spacious, fully equipped family apartments. Leisure facilities include a hydrotherapy pool and spa, music room, wet play/art room, movie room, library and sensory room with complimentary therapy suite. Outside there is a dining area with BBQ, adventure playground, mini golf course and a secret meadow.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide respite holidays for seriously-ill children and their families in a safe environment.


    » The Bluebells our purpose built holiday house contains two 4-bedroomed fully equipped apartments which we offer to qualifying families.

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by the occupancy of the house (respite breaks and day visits) and feedback from families who stay.

  • Impact


    We will be looking to see an improvement in the mental and physical health of the families who holiday at The Bluebells. We will also be looking for feedback which will record an improvement in inter-family relationships as a result of interaction with planned activities at The Bluebells.


    We are dependent on financial support to keep the house running and to provide our services, therefore if we are unable to secure the income then we risk losing the service. To mitigate this we have developed a strong and diverse fundraising strategy which ensures that we diversify our income mix, thereby reducing the risk of over-reliance on one source.

    Staffing the facility - employment of a qualified live-in House Manager and putting in place procedures for relief cover.


    We communicate with donors in many different ways. We always write to acknowledge a donor's commitment and to highlight the impact of the donation. In addition we offer 'Seeing is Believing' visits to all funders and we communicate via social media and our twice-yearly E-news.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £131,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,020 Consumables Welcome Baskets, cleaning materials, refreshments
      £26,100 Utilities Electricty, Water, Heating, Council Tax, Phones, Insurance, Hydro-Therapy Pool
      £7,200 House Vehicle and Gardener Insurance, MOT, Tax and Fuel, Garden Contractor
      £25,625 Repairs/Refurbishment/Cleaning Repairs, furniture and refurbishment for house and gardensand continency fund
      £18,940 Therapies/Support/Activities Practical Support Family, Bereavement and Sibling. Music, Art and Well-being therapy
      £38,565 Staffing House Manager, Relief Manager, and Cleaner
      £6,550 Open Days For families, bereaved families, volunteers and sponsors/supporters
  • Background


    The Bluebells, our holiday house is located in the Hampshire countryside near Basingstoke. Basingstoke has a large shopping centre and entertainement complex including cinema and bowling.

    Close to the M3 motorway it is easy accessible and also provides easy access to the cities of Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton and the South Coast resorts.

    Family attractions including Marwell Zoo, Chessington World of Adventure, Thorpe Park and Legoland are all within easy reach.


    Families throughout the UK with seriously-ill children can spend a holiday at our house free of charge allowing them to spend precious time together away from the stresses of hospital appointments and gruelling treatment schedules.

    Planning and booking holidays can be impossible for these families and without us they would probably not have the opportunity to have a break together. As our facility is purpose-built they are secure in the knowledge that the needs of their child will be met.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only charity in the UK with purpose built facility offering respite holidays to seriously-ill children and their families.

    We hold the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service which demonstrates our commitment to the voluntary sector and volunteers within.

    We have just been awarded Gold for Simple Quality Protects which demonstrates our excellent commitment to governance, leadership and safeguarding.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Lauren Harris

    Resident House Manager at The Bluebells - welcomes the families and provides support and information to those who stay

    Jane Gates OBE

    CEO - works to raise the profile of the charity and to support families. Meets with families and offers support and advice.

    Katie Siviter

    Family Services Manager - organises activities and therapy sessions for the project, provides line management to Lauren Harris.

Noah and Freddie Hart enjoy The Sensory Room

Noah and Freddie Hart enjoy The Sensory Room


Pays for to accommodate 2 families for one week

With a son that has relapsed with Leukaemia and 2 autistic siblings this was the first time in 5 years we'd all managed to get away together

The Bell Family