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Author: Guest Interview: Karen Yates
Everyone at Webhelp is deeply honoured to support the incredible work of Together for Short Lives as our Charity of the Year 2019. This national charity supports seriously-ill children, their families, and the children’s hospices and services that they rely on. Here we talk to Karen Yates, their Corporate Partnerships Manager and find out what makes the charity so special.
As an organisation, Webhelp aims to actively support the people and communities around us and supporting our Charity of the Year is always key to this goal. However, the focus of our 2019 campaign will be a particularly special one – as we recognise the incredible work of children’s hospice charity Together for Short Lives.
Around the UK, Webhelp’s sites will support four local children’s hospices: Bluebell Wood, Ty Hafan, Rainbows and Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS). Sites will be twinned with their local hospice, ensuring that employees will be raising funds for children and families in their own communities.
Eager to find out more we spoke to Karen Yates, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Together for Short Lives, who explained how the partnership will help ensure that UK families get the support they need when looking after a child with life-limiting or life-threatening condition.
“Too many families struggle to get the lifeline help they need when caring for their seriously ill child, and too many children’s hospices struggle to get the funding they need to continue providing this vital care,” says Karen. “That’s why Webhelp’s support is so important to us, not just in the funds that you will raise, but the huge amount of awareness our partnership will bring to our cause.”
Karen reveals how the charity works to support seriously ill children and their families in a number of ways. One of the big challenges they face is to give them a voice so that people understand better why positive change is needed. As Karen puts it:
“Your help in raising awareness of the challenges these families are facing will have an incredible impact on helping us build a sustainable children’s palliative care sector, so that every family can have access to specialist children’s palliative care services when and where they need it.”
Through corporate partnerships like ours, Together for Short Lives works to support the 54 children’s hospices services across the UK, helping them deliver lifeline care to families, whenever and wherever they need it.
“Many people have a perception of children’s hospices that they are extremely sad, clinical places where children only go at the end of their lives,” says Karen. “But from my experience they are so much more than that – In reality, children’s hospices are incredibly bright, warm and positive places, providing a home away from home for thousands of families. They provide care for children not just at the end of their lives, but from the point of diagnosis, throughout the child’s life and beyond.”
But children’s hospices don’t just ensure that children get the care they need – they are also there to make sure that families feel supported as well throughout a challenging time in their lives.
“Together for Short Lives and children’s hospices are there for the entire family, including parents, siblings and grandparents,” explains Karen. “Many parents of seriously ill children are caring for their child 24/7, and spending time at a children’s hospice gives them the chance to step away from being a carer and just be mum and dad.”
And the care extends to brothers and sisters – who are often young and coping with the double whammy of their own grief and the lack of ‘normal’ attention from their exhausted parents.
“Siblings workers at children’s hospices are fantastic at giving special attention to siblings of ill children as well,” says Karen. “This helps them cope with the difficult feelings of their brother or sister being seriously ill, and just simply giving them some time to be a kid.”
There’s no disguising that the work children’s hospices do – while incredible – can be challenging to think about, so we finish by asking Karen how she personally feels about her job and the impact it has, and her words are inspiring.
“My work with Together for Short Lives, whilst challenging at times, is deeply rewarding. I feel incredibly privileged to work with an amazing network of children’s hospices and to witness the difference they make in so many lives on a daily basis,” Karen says. “My first time visiting a children’s hospices I was blown away by the level of support and care they provide for families.”
“I love being able to come to work every day and work hard to make sure that these hospices can continue providing their vital care to families that so desperately need it. Although the children we support may not have long lives, it is good to know that we can help to make their lives as rich as possible and support them in creating memories as a family that they will cherish forever.”
It’s been our privilege to have learnt a little bit more about children’s hospices from Karen, if you’d like to find out more about our 2019 charity and support the wonderful work they do please visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk
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