Historic hospice Helen & Douglas House is the world’s first children’s hospice. They care for terminally ill babies, children, and young people up to the age of 18 in Oxford and the surrounding counties – making every moment count.
The hospice lacked an age-appropriate space for teenage patients and their siblings. With the help of feedback from its teen patients, the hospice devised a plan of action; it was clear they needed a cosy nurturing space, away from the noise of younger kids, and wanted their new space to be different, and definitely not boring!
Helen & Douglas House hospice approached industry charity CRASH for help. CRASH and its Corporate Patron, Arcadis visited the hospice to discuss their ideas and devise a plan on how to make them happen. Guy Norton, Arcadis Business Director, volunteered his professional expertise and followed up with a report outlining the scope of the project and recommendations for the works – which could have cost the hospice over £100,000.
CRASH called on another of its Corporate Patrons, modular construction specialist, Reds10. The rapidly expanding company were delighted to help and donated a modular unit which later became ‘Doug’s Den’ – a dedicated therapeutic hangout space for teenage patients. Fellow Corporate Patrons, Masterson Holdings delivered the groundworks and London Building Control provided building control services.
The donated professional services and building products on this project totalled a whopping £107,871. £91,500 of this was from Reds10, who manufactured, installed, and fitted out the modular building completely free of charge.
Paul Ruddick, Chairman at Reds10, commented: "We visited the site and were moved by the care the staff provide to terminally ill children, young people and their families. Donating to the hospice via CRASH in this way was truly special to us as it allowed us to be hands-on and really feel connected to the work. It is a project we all remember fondly and hope that the children and young people at the hospice, and their families, can enjoy the space for years to come.”
The children at the hospice love their new space and the project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of CRASH and its Corporate Patrons. Holly, from the Siblings Team at Helen & Douglas, said: “The young people seem much more relaxed meeting us in Doug’s Den than they ever did in a sterile meeting room in the hospice. I have taken a young man whose sibling was in for end-of-life care into the den for a chat and to see how he was. I saw a nurse having a conversation with parents about compassionate extubation. It’s also been great having lots for the teens to do in Doug’s Den. If a young person wants to express themselves by getting creative, we’ve got everything to enable them to do so. If they’re not in the mood for talking, they can blow off steam by playing a video game. If they want a chat over a hot chocolate, we can make them comfortable on the sofa and grab one of the fold-out coffee tables whilst we listen. It is lovely to sit in a space that feels age-appropriate in these situations.
CRASH is currently working on 26 construction projects for homelessness charities and hospices like Helen & Douglas House, relying completely on the construction industry to make them happen. Together we can construct places that care for people. Find out more about CRASH at www.crash.org.uk.