Respite stays at Francis House offer a reality for a family which otherwise would not have been possible.
Tuesday 3rd December 2019
When children and their families come to Francis House, they soon discover that what we offer extends far beyond the hospice walls.
Each year some of our young people join up with other hospice users from Martin House and Derian House at Calvert Kielder in Northumberland for an outdoor activity break.
During their three-night chalet stay, Ben, Daniel and Luke together with members of staff Nicola, Sara and Carrie put on a Mexican themed party night. Dressed in sombreros and ponchos they played games and tucked into tasty meals they had prepared for the whole group.
For Nicola Ward, Registered Nurse and member of the senior hospice team, it was also her first experience of Kielder.
“It was a real highlight for me to have a job where I can take these young people away on holiday. It’s wonderful that it’s equipped for them so that they can engage in all the activities that their peers can do,” says Nicola.
The group took a tour around the lake, explored the forest by golf buggy and showed off their archery skills using assisted trigger switches to fire the bows.
“The young people loved it and got real pleasure and enjoyment which you could see in their body language and expressions. For the theme night we had made all the decorations and they were so excited about delivering our party, they enjoyed the whole experience and it was a privilege to be part of that.
“One of the young people Daniel was anxious before going on the trip, he needed reassurance as did his mum which is understandable. You are being entrusted with the most precious gift – their child. But he really came out of his shell and it was lovely to watch him grow in confidence and self-esteem.”
Luke, Ben and Daniel took part in activities like the King Swing. Strapped in a harness and pulled backwards to a height of 50 feet before being let go was a real test of their bravery.
“Daniel gave me the biggest surprise when he was the first to get on the King Swing. You’d have never of thought he would do it, but he did. He was so proud of himself and the young people were applauding him on, it really enhanced his confidence.”
“For our young people just having the opportunity to go on a holiday like that might be the only one that they get. This was an experience I’ll never forget.”Nicola Ward, Senior Hospice team member