Zoe’s Place Coventry must secure more funding to enable more families to access their services.
Just four out of their six bed spaces are used due to a shortfall in funds.
Zoe’s Place Coventry is a hospice for children age 0 to 5 which offers respite care for babies and infants with life-limiting conditions as well as end of life care and support for families.
The Coventry hospice is based in a purpose-built facility and is the third of its kind. The other two are in Liverpool and Middlesborough. Zoe’s Place was founded by Professor Jack Scarisbrick, current Chairman of Trustees, in 1995. And the Coventry Hospice has been here for around 5 years.
The Birth of Zoe’s Place
Professor Scarisbrick had recognised a need for specialist respite or palliative care for families with children who suffered from life limiting or life threatening conditions. Crucially, these facilities were most needed during the early years of a child’s life thus Zoe’s Place, a hospice for 0-5 year olds, was born.
‘Zoe’ is a Greek name which means ‘gift of life’ and was, therefore, chosen as an apt name for this important facility. After hard work in development, fundraising, and finding suitable premises, the first Zoe’s Place Hospice opened in Liverpool in February 1995. This signified the beginning of a unique and much needed service.
A second Zoe’s Place opened in 2004 in Middlesborough while the Coventry facility opened in 2011.
Services provided by Zoe’s Place
Zoe’s Place provides ‘coffee and chat’ sessions, sibling support groups, and palliative care but their core service is to provide age specific respite care. About 35 families from across Coventry and Warwickshire attend the hospice on a regular basis. This gives many parents time to recharge which they would not otherwise have or to spend precious time with their other children.
Zoe’s Place provides specialist one to one nursing care for 0-5 year olds to meet the needs of the child. Occasional day trips are organised by play therapist Helen Lloyd who also plans activities and identifies appropriate sensory materials for the play areas. Other full time staff include specialist care assistants and domestic staff.
The Coventry hospice is a 6-bed facility with specialist cots and equipment in each room. A large, brightly coloured bathroom with hydrotherapy bath is easily accessible from the main play room which, again, is a bright and spacious room with specially chosen and designed toys to suit the needs of its young visitors. This room leads, via a large patio door, to an enclosed garden covered with a canopy.
As well as these rooms, there is a soft play room and a sensory room with lights, music, and suchlike to stimulate the senses. There are also other small garden areas as well as a family room where a television, small kitchen, and separate outdoor area can be used.
The most important room for many families, though, is the ‘Starlight’ room. Sadly, some families come to Zoe’s Place for end of life care for their child. The Starlight room offers a small bed and crib in a private space where parents can spend time with a child who has passed away.
Costs and funding
The cost of running Zoe’s Place is around £1.4 million per year. This would allow the service to open all day, every day and provide nursing care and facilities for the 6-bed facility. While Zoe’s Place receives modest statutory funding, the hospice must rely on the kindness of the local community for around 85% of necessary income.
Regrettably, due to a lack of funding, Zoe’s Place Coventry is unable to run to capacity and is currently only using four of its six bed spaces although the hospice is still able to cater for more families with day services. While children do not have to stay overnight volunteer co-ordinator Elly Petrucci would like to secure funding to maximise the potential.
Elly, recently appointed to meet fundraising objectives, hopes to achieve this with the help of an initiative to increase volunteer fundraisers from around 20 to 50 regular volunteers, as well as the idea for people to give their time for one-off events challenged to raise just £20 which would pay for one hour of care.
Fundraising and events
Just two years ago, Zoe’s place was only able to open two or three days each week. Now, thanks to the support from the community, this wonderful facility, essential to so many families, is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. However, to continue to run and improve the services, continued support and a regular income is needed.
Zoe’s Place runs various events throughout the year including skydives, obstacle runs, bike rides, treks, and mountain climbs as well as smaller scale social events. Third parties are also encouraged to organise coffee mornings, fashion shows, and other events with which Zoe’s Place can offer support and guidance.
To find out more about Zoe’s Place Coventry, take a look at their website http://www.zoes-place.org.uk/ which includes news and information about the latest events in the ‘Smile’ newsletter.