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13 March 2019, 10:45 | Updated: 13 March 2019, 10:47
The baby hospice has helped families across Merseyside for 24 years but is now struggling to make ends meet.
Zoe's Place provides palliative, respite and bereavement care to families of babies and children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. Over the last 24 years the service has grown and so has demand; keeping the hospice up and running costs the charity £1.6 million per year.
Financial pressure means the hospice has had to use just four of its six cots throughout the week, on a temporary basis leaving many families being full time carers without a break.
Carol Kirkham, fundraising manager for the Liverpool hospice, said: “It’s heart-breaking to think that there are more families in Liverpool who need our help, but due to a significant shortfall in funds, we can’t support them through such a devastating time.
“Zoe’s Place is the only hospice in the UK that caters specifically for babies, from birth to the age of five. The support that we provide is invaluable to the families.
“We know that having a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening illness can be both very distressing for the whole family as well as highly demanding. It’s therefore our aim to make it as easy as possible for everyone – whether it be through emotional support, specific therapies or simply a much-needed night’s sleep.
“At Zoe’s Place we provide care not just for the baby, but the whole family. We do this by creating a family like community, providing counselling sessions, sibling support and activity days. Many families would be lost without this service and we need the people of Liverpool to help keep our doors open.
“Added to this our bereavement support has become a key part of what we do in helping families deal with the most difficult time of their lives – the loss of a child.
“Our nurses are trained to support and families are able to make use of our self-contained bereavement suite even if they have had no link with Zoe’s before. The suite consists of a temperature-controlled room for the baby to be laid to rest and a private living area enabling the family to stay with the child from the time of passing until the funeral. We also are able to help with the practicalities of registering the death, funeral arrangements, and supporting siblings. Essentially we are there on hand to help 24/7.”
To help raise funds, the hospice has launched a new ‘Pay for a Day’ project which asks people to sponsor an entire day at the hospice, whether it’s a one-off donation from an individual, family or friends clubbing together or staff fundraising at work through challenges and events.
Donations allow sponsors to choose a unique day – perhaps a special birthday or anniversary. Zoe’s Place will acknowledge the individual with a certificate and letter of thanks, as well as a personal invitation to the hospice.