Children’s hospice opens doors to visitors in 30th year

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Hundreds of people took the chance to take a look around Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People when it held its annual open day on Sunday.

Visitors toured the Clifford-based building and gardens and listened to talks from guest speakers, including mum Julie Walker on the experience of a family using Martin House, hospice founder Rev Richard Seed and Chief Executive Martin Warhurst on the future of the hospice.

There were also attractions including a nature trail, face painting, birds of prey and animals from Nuzzlets Farm and Hart Animals, plus raffles, tombola, craft stalls and the chance to buy Martin House Christmas cards.

Clair Holdsworth, Director of Care at the Grove Road-based facility, said: “It was a fantastic day, and we had some wonderful feedback from our visitors.

“It was lovely to see people who have used and supported the service over the last 30 years, along with lots of new supporters, and everyone seemed really excited about our plans for the future.”

Martin House provides care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions from West, North and East Yorkshire – and their families – at its hospice, in hospital and in their own homes.

Every year it supports over 420 children and young people, and their families plus 150 bereaved families across West, North and East Yorkshire, at the hospice and in families’ own homes.

The hospice has nine bedrooms in Martin House, and six in Whitby Lodge, which cares for teenagers and young adults up to the age of 30 (and sometimes beyond).

“Our services include respite stays, symptom control, emergency care, community care and end of life care,” said a spokesman.

“Bereavement support is offered to families, often for two to three years after their child’s death.

“We also offer bereavement support to families whose child had a life-limiting condition but did not have the opportunity to use the hospice.”

Martin House hosts one of only three specialist training places in the UK for consultants in paediatric palliative medicine, alongside placements in London (Great Ormond Street Hospital) and Cardiff.

There is no cost to any of the families using our services but it costs in excess of £6 million a year to provide this care, the majority of which comes from voluntary donations and fundraising.