Together for Short Lives is the leading UK charity for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and all those who support, love and care for them. We support families, professionals and services, including children’s hospices. Our work helps to ensure that children can get the best possible care, wherever and whenever they need it.

From the moment of diagnosis, for whatever life holds, we help to ensure that families make the most of their precious time together.

There are an estimated 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition that may require palliative care services. We are there for every single one of these children, and their families, so they know where to go for help and are aware of the support available to them. With the right kind of information, it can become easier to access care and support, as well as practical and emotional help for the whole family when it’s needed most. We help families get this information so they know what to expect at different stages throughout their journey.

We also work closely with the organisations and professionals that provide an important lifeline to children and families. We raise funds for children’s hospices and a range of other voluntary organisations to enable them to sustain the vital work they do. We offer resources and training to help them maintain consistent, high quality care from the moment a child is diagnosed, until their eventual death, and to continue supporting families for as long as they need it.

Our work also involves campaigning for equal coverage of specialised services for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and families across the UK; and better co-ordination of health, social care and education. By working nationally we give a powerful voice to children, families and the organisations that support them, ensuring their views are heard by the government and that they influence policy.

Our three year strategy (2015 - 18) is designed to lead lasting change for children’s palliative care. The strategy - Quality of life, quality of death: Leading change for children’s palliative care aims to enable children, young people and their families in the UK to have as fulfilling lives as possible the best care at the end of life.

The strategy identifies five priority areas in which we would like to influence over the next three years. We have selected these because they are complex issues which cannot be addressed by individual services or professionals alone. They require a UK wide view and an approach which brings together a range of different agencies and individuals – including families, providers, professionals, governments, regulators and funders. Working in partnership with others, we will lead change in these five areas to improve the lives of children and families.

The five strategy priorities are:

  • Information and support for families – so families can find the support they need locally and make informed choices about their child’s care.
  • Quality of life, quality of death – so families receive high quality care through life and at end of life and supporting professionals and services to understand and meet the needs of more children and families in their diverse communities. 
  • Commissioning and sustainability – influencing local and national children’s palliative acre commissioning in all four UK countries and raising vital funds for children’s palliative care voluntary sector providers.
  • Transition – improve young people’s transition from children’s to adult services and access to appropriate services and support
  • Community engagement and volunteering –improve understanding of childhood death and dying and encouraging the sector to explore a community approach to children’s palliative care and invest in volunteering.

View the Together for Short Lives' strategic plan for 2015 - 2018.