A hospice charity is creating two new jobs in order to expand its work into the community and reach more children with life-limiting conditions.

The new project has been made possible after Wrexham-based financial planners Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Ltd. introduced the Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices to the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation.

As a result, the charity was successful in applying to the Foundation for more than £79,000 towards the costs of employing two Community Engagement roles for two years.

The organisation runs two hospices, Hope House in Oswestry and Tŷ Gobaith in the Conwy Valley.

It had wanted to launch the scheme 10 years ago, following a successful pilot, but didn’t have the money to do so.

The search has already begun for two new staff members, who are expected to be home-based and operating chiefly across North Wales.

Their role will be to raise the profile of the hospice within the community, to talk to community leaders, groups and individuals in a social setting in order to overcome the barriers some people face in accessing the service.

“Hadlow Edwards has broken down a door for us that we ourselves couldn’t access. This funding has made all the difference in getting this new service up and running,” said Andy Goldsmith, the CEO of Hope House Children Hospices.

The hospice, along with its sister operation at Tŷ Gobaith in Conwy, offers respite and crisis care for children with complex health conditions, as well as counselling and bereavement support.

“We are currently working with around 600 children and their families across Shropshire, Cheshire, Mid and North Wales,” said Andy.

“But on average, children’s hospices reach just 16 per cent of the children with life-limiting conditions. We want to help more families and we need to encourage communities to work with us to do that.

“We know there are certain communities within North Wales that don’t access the hospice. That might be for cultural reasons; they might wonder if a hospice is the right place for their children.

“There’s also a geographical issue for some. Many of the families are managing on benefits. They’re living in poverty and feeling very isolated,” he added.

“The covid pandemic has exacerbated that sense of isolation, making the need for community support even more important.”

The possibility of securing finance for the scheme came about following conversations between the Hope House Hospice and Tŷ Gobaith charity, the Charitable Foundation, and Warren Hadlow, Founder and Director of Hadlow Edwards, which has raised funding for the hospice charity in the past.

The firm is an Appointed Representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, a wealth management company with a charitable foundation.

Warren said: “Money for the Foundation is raised through payroll giving and a wide range of activities.

“We began working with Hope House Children’s Hospices more than 10 years ago. We’d raised money for smaller projects, but we’d never gone to the Foundation Board before and I thought the time was right to put forward the bid for a grant to fund the brilliant work of the Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith hospices.

The hospice staff believe that many people are unaware of some of the services they offer and hope the scheme will rectify that.

Simi Epstein, Director of Fundraising at Hope House Children’s Hospices, said their research showed that those who had accessed their bereavement services usually did so because they knew someone at the organisation.

“We support people whose children require our care throughout their lifetime and we also step in where a child has died under any circumstances, so not known to us at all,” she said.

“For example, during covid, in the village where I live, a family lost their little girl and they just wanted to bring her home.

“They wanted to put her in the bedroom that they’d created for her, allow her family to meet her and take family photographs. And we have a special unit that could help them to do that.”

Andy added: “People sometimes assume that we operate in a similar way as an adult hospice.

“A children’s hospice is about walking alongside the family from the point of diagnosis, supporting that family through that journey to end of life and the grieving process.”

It was a sentiment endorsed by Warren Hadlow who said: “I am pleased the hospice can now press ahead with the scheme, following the award from the St. James’s Charitable Foundation.

“The work done by the team at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices is quite remarkable and we are very proud to be able to support them in their efforts.”