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8 (£million) ways Morrisons and Together for Short Lives is making a difference

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We’re thrilled to share that Morrisons has raised an impressive £8 million Together for Short Lives. This milestone brings us over two thirds of the way to our £10 million target. To celebrate, we wanted to highlight eight ways the partnership has made a difference to seriously ill children’s lives.

1 – A new kitchen for Dougie Mac

Kitchens at children’s hospices are focal points, where families and staff gather together for home-cooked meals and quality time together. The kitchen at Dougie Mac children’s hospice was becoming run down, so with the help of a grant for £31,000 from our ‘Building a Legacy Together’ scheme the hospice has now modernised its kitchen, enhancing the preparation area and cooking equipment for a better dining experience for the families they support.

“The impact of the Morrisons partnership with Together for Short Lives has been fantastic,” says Cris Hammond from Dougie Mac Hospice “We couldn’t have achieved this new kitchen project without the Building a Legacy Together grant.”

Dougie Mac isn’t the only children’s hospice to have upgraded its eating area with the help of one of grants – Rainbows in Loughborough has redesigned its kitchen with accessibility in mind, so that the young people there can enjoy some independence and cook their own meals. “The new facilities will help to enable our young people to grow and develop and achieve their aspirations in a safe and supported way, promoting independence and wellbeing,” says Stacey Curzon from Rainbows.

2 – An outside Haven for families

Getting outdoors can be an amazing way to improve mental health and wellbeing but for families with a seriously ill child, it can be challenging with many outdoor areas inaccessible for children in wheelchairs.

Little Havens children’s hospice in Essex used a £50,000 Building a Legacy Together grant to fund new accessible pathways in their sensory garden, to replace older paths that had become unusable in places for wheelchair users.

“Growing tree roots had deemed some paths unusable for wheelchair users,” says Stevie Brown from Havens Hospices. “These essential works are making a huge difference to families who rely on the services at Little Havens, helping them to make every day count.”

Meanwhile at Zoe’s Place in Middlesbrough a grant was used to create a new playground featuring wheelchair-accessible amenities like slides, trampolines, and roundabouts, as well as sensory elements such as music chimes and bells. “We are immensely thankful to Morrisons for their generous support in funding this project,” says Beth Hill from Zoe’s Place. “The new playground not only enhances the quality of life for the children and families we serve but also symbolises our commitment to providing inclusive and accessible environments.”

3 – Making sweet music with Soundabout

Music can be a wonderful sensory experience for children with complex health needs who are ordinarily unable to express themselves. Music therapy sessions are usually filled with fun, laughter and the opportunity for families to make new connections and friendships.

The Morrisons partnership helps to fund a Community Outreach Project to extend support to more families with seriously ill children and connect them to local children’s hospices. Lisa, a Community Outreach Worker based in the North West, collaborated with national charity Soundabout and The Jolly Josh Centre in Manchester to conduct specialist music sessions for eight families across 12 sessions.

Reflecting on Soundabout sessions, Lisa said: “It’s always so lovely to see parents and carers snapping pictures of their child, to capture the joy in that moment so they can remember that precious memory of pure happiness.”

4 – Coffees and Connections

In the first weeks of her new role on the Community Outreach Project, Outreach Worker Lisa encountered a parent whose child was on end-of-life care, with the mother feeling isolated and hesitant to leave the house due to her daughter’s visibly declining health. This prompted Lisa to establish Coffee & Connect sessions, providing a supportive space for parents and carers of life-limited children to connect with others facing similar challenges.

The sessions offer a safe space for families to talk about the challenges they are facing, have meaningful conversations and make forge friendships. It also serves as an ideal platform for Lisa to introduce families to Together for Short Lives and discuss available support options.

“The parents lead the conversations,” says Lisa, “and it can really vary from everything such as sharing their experience with a hospice to shared frustration at spouses leaving their socks on the bedroom floor!”


5 – The Crisis Pantry

For families with seriously ill children, the pressure of their child’s condition can overwhelm them, leaving little room for concerns like food shopping. Enter the Crisis Pantry: it delivers a £150 grocery shop to families at no cost, offering essential items and relief from the financial and mental strain of weekly shopping. Carefully chosen items cater to every family member, including pets, from essentials like toothpaste to comforting treats, aiming to alleviate some stress during difficult times.

One family of six in Greater Manchester we helped were facing financial strains and caregiving duties while supporting a child undergoing chemotherapy. Rising living costs and frequent hospital visits made making ends meet increasingly difficult. The Crisis Pantry intervened, offering a thoughtful grocery shop for the entire family, ensuring all children were cared for. Moreover, it facilitated the family’s ability to enjoy meaningful meals together, a rarity amidst their challenges.

“The difference this made to our family is amazing,” says the Mum of four. “We feel so grateful to have been helped like this. The practical things are so appreciated in times of stress.”

We feel so grateful to have been helped like this.

6 – Help with the Cost of Living

For families caring for seriously ill children who are reliant on life-saving equipment at home the recent rises in energy costs have hit hard. Cost of Living grants of £300 each have been given to hundreds of families across the country. Fortunately, after meeting our Community Outreach Worker, Morgan and Sam, parents to Florence (Flo), were able to access one of these grants.

Flo has been diagnosed with calcification of the brain among other life-limiting complications. When she was first diagnosed, she was put on end-of-life care and referred to her local children’s hospice, Derian House. At this time, the family received a Cost of Living grant to ease some of their money worries whilst focusing on spending time with their precious daughter.

Morgan said: “We got the Cost of Living grant when Florence was in hospital on end-of-life care. We were expecting her to pass away so Sam didn’t work for six weeks. The grant helped us with day-to-day living so, so much. Like putting money on the gas and electricity. It made things that bit easier.”

Thankfully, Flo has defeated odds and whilst Morgan and Flo’s dad, Sam, have no idea how long they have together as a family, they enjoy every moment with their precious daughter.

7 – Making Memories Together to last a lifetime

The Making Memories Together grant was designed to help families create lasting memories. Since its launch, we’ve impacted over 4,000 lives and allocated nearly £60,000. Hospices have used the grant for everything from parties to days out. A recurring theme is the emphasis on crafting physical keepsakes, offering families tangible reminders of their loved ones even after their passing.

At Shooting Star Children’s Hospice in West London, a family with a 11-month-old baby facing a degenerative condition had foot casts made to capture a happier time in his life amidst hospital visits and discomfort.

The family were delighted at the experience “Thank you Morrisons for this wonderful donation,” one of the parents said. “These pieces we can cherish forever. Beautiful memories made that will last a lifetime. This means the world to our family.”

At Hope House and Ty Gobaith hospices, the grant funded various tangible keepsakes for families coping with the loss of a baby. Examples include ‘heartbeat bears,’ which hold recordings of the baby’s heartbeat, and jewellery featuring finger and footprints for families to cherish. One parent who received a pendant told us: “The pendant is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

8 – Butterfly Fund payments

When a child dies from a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, many families experience financial difficulties. The Butterfly Fund is a one-off grant aimed to help ease the burden in this extreme time of need. In regions supported by Morrisons, 73 families have received the £300 emergency payment funded by the partnership.

For example, George was born six weeks early and less than 24 hours after his birth, doctors informed Mum Carrie that her son had Cerebral Palsy and severe bleeding on the brain. Whilst George was able to enjoy some normality in his life and attend school, life became even more challenging after he began experiencing severe seizures.

At 8 years old, George was diagnosed with brain fluid accumulation. Tragically, doctors determined he couldn’t undergo surgery to remove it, leaving no further options to prolong his life. After George died, the family received crucial support from a Butterfly Fund grant, easing unexpected expenses in the initial days of their loss.

“Without the Butterfly Fund, we wouldn’t have eaten that week [of George’s funeral],” says George’s mum, Carrie. “The grant didn’t just help me, it helped eight other children. It helped a whole family when it mattered most.”

Read more of George’s story here.

The grant didn’t just help me, it helped eight other children. It helped a whole family when it mattered most.

£2 million reasons to keep going

As you’ve seen, the partnership with Morrisons and Together for Short Lives, which started in February 2022, has been raising vital funds which have made a real difference to children’s and families lives across the country.

As well as supporting existing children’s hospices, we are also reaching out to those families across the UK who don’t know about the support they can access through services like their local children’s hospice or Together for Short Lives’ own helpline and online family support service.

These are just eight examples of the many amazing things this partnership has achieved, and the partnership runs until October 2024, by which time we aim to raise a total of £10 million. So if you work or shop at Morrisons please look out for ways you can get involved in supporting the partnership over the summer and help us finish with a bang.

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