On Tuesday 10th October, Cooden Beach Hotel hosted a special lunch for Chestnut Tree House, helping the charity to raise awareness for the care they offer in East Sussex.
Hosted by Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Barry Hinves, the lunch was an opportunity for local dignitaries, businesses and supporters to hear from Chestnut Tree’s CEO Hugh Lowson and Director of Children’s Services, Linda Perry. They spoke about the 14 year history of the hospice and its growth from two beds and 30 children to 10 beds and 300 children.
Linda highlighted the care offered in children’s own homes: “We have a lovely hospice near Arundel where children and families can take short breaks and parents can enjoy being parents rather than carers for a while. But, for me, the care that happens in families’ own homes is just as important. This is where our Chestnut Tree Nurses and Care Support Workers build strong relationships with families, where they can understand and support the whole family’s needs, and where they can help families with the day-to-day realities of caring for a child with a life-shortening condition.”
The charity cared for 72 children in East Sussex last year, eight of whom sadly died. The nurses made over 500 home visits to children in the county, and provided additional support in the form of activities for the under fives, the over 12s, siblings and families, as well as an event specifically for grandparents. “We really look after the whole family,” says Linda. “Siblings are often mini-carers and miss out on opportunities that their peers may take for granted, so it is important that we can provide safe spaces for them to just be children. Similarly, the experience of grandparents of children with life-shortening conditions is often very different to that of their peers, so being able to bring them together to share those experiences is invaluable.”
Whilst the charity has made huge strides - through its Hands Up campaign - in raising awareness for their care in East Sussex, they know that there are more children here who need their care. In order to reach those children the charity needs to raise awareness and funds. It costs well over £3.5 million every year to offer all of Chestnut Tree’s care services, and as they reach more children this figure will increase. The charity receives less than 7% of their funding from central government so they rely heavily on the generosity of the local community, who support them in a variety of ways; through volunteering, taking part in the hospice’s lottery, donating to their charity shops and taking part in events or fundraising.
Commenting on the event, CEO Hugh Lowson said: “It was fantastic to meet so many people and to talk to them about a cause we are so passionate about. We would like to thank Barry and Jackie Hinves for hosting the lunch, and thank everyone who attended. We would like to say a special thanks to James and Lesley Kimber at Cooden Beach Hotel for their kind and generous support. We look forward to working with them again as we begin to plan for a gala celebration at the hotel for Chestnut Tree’s 15th Birthday next October.”
You can find out more about the care Chestnut Tree offer in East Sussex, how to make a referral and how to get involved in supporting the charity by visiting www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/handsup
Put your Hands Up! for Chestnut Tree
There are plenty of ways to get involved with Chestnut Tree House, from volunteering or donating bags of clothes, to jumping out of planes and running relay along 170 miles of the south coast. If you think you could help Chestnut Tree reach more children in East Sussex, then put your Hands Up! and get in touch with Mikayla Bernstein, the charity’s Corporate Fundraiser.
Mikayla can meet with you to talk about what is happening at Chestnut Tree House and help find the best way for your company to support the hospice.
Contact her on 01323 725095 or
07500 570610 or email her at
Chestnut Tree House’s Get Festive campaign takes place throughout December, with Get Festive Day on Friday 15th December. It’s all about getting into the spirit of Christmas, and the team at Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice want to encourage local businesses, community groups and organisations to enjoy some festive fun while raising vital funds.
Get Festive is open to everyone – you can take part whenever you like in December and hold any festive-themed event or activity, in order to fundraise for Chestnut Tree House.
Registration is free and Chestnut Tree House will send you a Get Festive fundraising pack with loads of ideas to help you hold a unique Christmas fundraiser. There is even the opportunity to purchase Santa suits at £10 each.
For more information on Get Festive and how to get involved, visit http://www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/getfestive or call 01323 725095