Julia’s House is a very special children’s hospice in Corfe Mullen and I was fortunate enough to see for myself why this charity is dear to so many hearts.
As part of my #40for40 myself and baby Lucy went on a tour of the house with the lovely Tai and 2 of his colleagues. Little Lucy loved our visit and although there were no children there at the time she had no problem making herself at home and playing with their toys.
Before we went on our tour I was given a little background on the hospice. Julia Perks was a paediatric nurse and her dream was to develop a support network for children suffering with a life limiting illness and their families. Sadly Julia died of cancer but her friend Mike Wise along with a small group of supporters began fundraising to make her dream of a dedicated hospice a reality.
I learnt that 60% of the care is given in the community and the staff love to assist with outings like bowling, swimming and trips to an ice cream parlour.
I think everyone in Dorset has heard of Julia’s House and from the minute you are welcomed through the door you understand why the children and their families enjoy their stay so much. Wondering through the entrance there’s Jurassic themed sensory walls with big bright fish and turtles with their offspring swimming above your head!
We were led into a lovely play room which was full of wonderful things to touch, feel and play with. We were told how much the children enjoy coming in and making lots of mess. In the corner Lucy found a sensory room and she spent ages in there with the balls and sensory walls.
From here we were led upstairs where we were shown the bedrooms which are used for respite care. Making the child feel as welcome and comfortable as possible seems to be a priority with themed character bedding sets and games. Not only are the furnishings child friendly but the beds and bathrooms are fully equipped to meet their needs.
We were also shown into the garden which is amazing. There’s musical instruments to play with, big bright bells hanging in the trees, a trampoline at ground level and lots more.
Back indoors we found a music room which Lucy adored and we were also shown the mermaid room which is given to families for a child’s end of life care. It was in here that I had a lump in my throat and realised just how lucky I am to have 2 healthy children. There’s a bedroom, living room, bathroom and separate courtyard for the family to use with the reassurance of having a care team on hand if needed.
Julia’s House offer up to 3 years post bereavement care and completely understand that siblings need help and advice as much as the parents. Families are encouraged to make scrapbooks with family photos and talk about their lost loved one.
If you’d like to get involved with this wonderful charity then maybe you would like to take part in their ‘Time for Tea’ event. The children’s hospice week runs from the 22nd to the 29th of May and they’re inviting everyone to get involved by holding a tea party to raise funds. If you’re not able to hold one of your own then why not attend theirs on the 28th of May at Charborough Park in Wareham.
There’s also an open day at the hospice on the 16th of May and everyone is welcome to come along and take a look around. It is of course free entry but you are asked to book a time which suits you and this can be done through the Julia's House website.
Thank you ever so much to Tai and the 2 lovely ladies for taking the time to show me around and play with little Lucy. We both had a wonderful visit and I hope you continue to raise loads for such a worthwhile charity.