At Tŷ Hafan we are used to hearing the word crisis almost every day. That reality is always close at hand for life-limited children and their families. Stepping in at just the right time, whether that is to prevent a crisis, or to help deal with one, these are the daily realities for the Charity. Perhaps that is why we have seen such remarkable resilience on display from families, staff and the wider Tŷ Hafan community through this global pandemic.
With nearly all our fundraising activity suspended we are preparing for a worrying shortfall this year. Even with the very welcome support from our supporters and the Welsh Government, there are still gaps in anticipated income to fill. We are innovating as much as we can, through a virtual Marathon in May, regular quiz nights on Facebook, and everything else we can think of. We are under no illusions about the tough times ahead of us.
Like many other hospices we have had to battle for PPE supplies, and the thought of running out has given many of our staff sleepless nights. Even when supply issues eased, it can be difficult for our nurses to interact with children in the way they would like, when constantly dressed in protective gear. As always, they have found ways to innovate and create that special Tŷ Hafan experience for everyone they can.
The Charity is also providing crucial advocacy support for our most vulnerable families, making sure they get added to shielding lists if they’ve been missed off – and ensuring they can get shopping and medicine without putting their children at risk. The stress and anxiety of caring for seriously ill children is difficult enough at the best of times – and these are not the best of times. That is why it has been so important for us to open a frequent dialogue with Government to ensure our families, who represent a small, but incredibly vulnerable section of the population, are not forgotten when it comes to policy-making done at pace.
Like many other charities and businesses we have many staff on furlough, and I know that things are difficult for them, because they spend each of their working days helping others. It is part of who they are and it is hard to step away from that.
What keeps us going is the memory that just twenty years ago, there was no Tŷ Hafan. If the goodwill, hard work and imagination led by Suzanne Goodall could bring a hospice into being from nothing other than tireless effort, then we know we can steer this wonderful charity through these stormiest of waters – and continue to provide the high class care our children and families so desperately need.
In my fourth year as chair I have never been more proud of our Tŷ Hafan family and grateful for the generosity of our supporters.