Charity Registration Number: 1045077
As we emerge from lockdown, COVID-19 continues to have a massive impact on the charitable sector. We recently reached out to our friends at Candlelighters to offer our support and to understand a little more, the obstacles they have faced and most definitely have overcome throughout this time. Below is a statement from the Candlelighters team in which they describe the effect COVID-19 has had on their work and the alternative strategies they have developed to continue providing much needed support.
“In such unprecedented times, families across the UK have faced challenges like never before, but for families affected by childhood cancer whose lives have already been turned upside down, COVID-19 has made, and continues to make life more difficult than ever.
Families have been required to ‘shield’, meaning they must stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum. Many families have faced time apart, with hospital restrictions permitting only one parent to be on the ward with their child, and remaining there indefinitely to avoid bringing the virus to the ward. Even now as we strive to build a ‘new normal’ and ease out of lockdown, we’re hearing that for families facing childhood cancer, this will become another scary and daunting phase as decisions around returning to work, school and ‘normality’ put extra pressure on the family unit.
Here at Candlelighters, we have been determined to carry on supporting these families and have adapted to focus on offering virtual support, which has had really high uptake and positive feedback; whether that’s daily/weekly check-ins with one of the team, virtual talking therapies for children and adults, activity sessions for the children, or moving our support groups online.
We have also increased our grant provision to alleviate the heightened financial pressure our families are facing. For families on the ward, we have delivered food hampers, drinks and toiletries, which we hope will help parents and carers, as we know how difficult these restrictions are proving. We also put in place a laundry service so that families staying on the ward could have their clothes collected, washed and dropped off to relieve some of the additional stress from not being allowed to leave the ward.
However like many charities, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the money we raise to support our families and we are looking to our supporters to help us through this difficult time.
The Kentown Wizard Foundation kindly supported Candlelighters in May with a grant of £16,000, to support the salary costs of the Family Support Team, who deliver many of these vital services to children and their families.”
This support is vital, now more than ever. The Candlelighters team have been overwhelmed with the number of children and families accessing this support and since lockdown began, the determination they have shown while adapting to these difficult times has been inspiring. We are delighted here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation to help such an incredible charity continue to support the families who need them the most. Families just like Leo’s…
“Leo was diagnosed on Friday the 13th September 2019, aged 8, with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The very next day, we were transferred from our local hospital to Ward 31 at the Leeds General Infirmary.
From then on, we have received continued help and support as a family from the amazing Candlelighters team, both on the wards, clinic, at The Square (family support centre) and now during this pandemic, at home via Zoom!
Leo has been thoroughly enjoying these sessions, it gives him something to look forward to each week and for me as his mum it is so lovely to hear him chatting away to the Family Support Team. They are so engaging and fun for him to chat to. Over the weeks he has made so many great pieces, his favourite is the ‘gribbit’ he says!
We have had to shield at home, which has been so hard for us all but even more so Leo, keeping him entertained and upbeat is so important, and he looks forward to his weekly bit of fun with the team.
It is helping him to get his hands moving again and strengthen them with all the cutting out, sticking and gluing he’s been doing, and it’s also making him think! These sessions have definitely made an impact on him in a positive way and he can’t wait to meet the team in the flesh – he was too poorly at the start of his treatment and an inpatient for many weeks, so he didn’t get the chance to visit the Square before the lockdown hit. It will be great for him to finally get over there once it is safe for him to do so.”