Julia's House - A year like no other
We wanted to shine a light on Julia’s House, an incredible charity that is very close to our hearts here at Nite. We asked their team some questions to find out exactly what challenges they’ve faced over the past year and how we can all support them and the wonderful work they do for our community.
In case you aren’t aware of Julia’s House, they are not a typical children’s hospice. They provide practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, providing frequent and regular support in their own homes, in the community or at their hospices.
How has Julia's House coped this past year?
It’s been a year like no other at Julia’s House and we have had to adapt our care overnight, work in totally new ways and make some tough decisions. But, throughout the pandemic we have been able to be there for vulnerable children and families in our local community. Our wonderful nurses and carers delivered over 16,000 hours of care in 2020 to the children and families who need us the most right now. We have only been able to do this thanks to the amazing support of our local community and corporate supporters just like the team here at Nite Watches who are members of our Business Club and regularly donate to Julia’s House. These regular donations have really helped us through a tough few months at the charity. Thank you, you really have helped change lives during the pandemic.
So what has changed for us since March 2020? Julia’s House was already delivering two thirds of its care in the community before Covid and now that is 100 per cent – our nurses and carers are visiting families in their homes to provide clinical care and support as well as reassurance and someone exhausted parents can talk to who understands their fears and isolation. This is helping to relieve pressure on the NHS as we’re keeping seriously ill children safe at home.
Our care team are in full PPE with our volunteer van drivers doing an amazing job collecting supplies every month. The really good news is that our care team have all been offered a vaccine which is an added reassurance for families, alongside the nurses and carers taking COVID tests three times a week. We’re out and about with our siblings in line with Government guidelines doing school pick ups and kick arounds in the park to give them some much needed ‘me’ time. Some of our families are still shielding so we have a virtual programme of play sessions, music and story time that they can access online – one of our families described these as a ‘beacon of light’ in their day. It might have been easier to look at what’s stayed the same – very little! – but being there for the families has been so important as we know that many of their other care services stopped.
What's your biggest challenge in 2021?
“Our biggest challenge is a financial one,” says Mike Bartlett, Julia’s House Deputy CEO. “We are in the midst of lockdown three so our shops are closed again and that alone means we lose £150,000 a month. Of course, we’ve had to cancel or postpone all our regular fundraising events and it’s very challenging for people to fundraise for us because of the social distancing restrictions. Even before this lockdown, we forecast a 30 per cent reduction in our fundraising income this year, which is devastating as we are 95 per cent publically funded. All of our supporters have been amazing standing side by side with us in 2020 and we have had emergency funding from the Government, but the future looks very challenging as the Government funding is unlikely to continue and economic conditions are so uncertain.”
Tell us about the Seven Wonders of the World challenge
As well as adapting care, we’ve of course adapted our fundraising. This month we launched our first ever virtual fitness challenge – the Seven Wonders of the World. We’d love as many people as possible to join us and run, walk, cycle (or any other exercise or activity – there’s a long list!) to travel virtually to see some of the most awe-inspiring sites around the globe, from Machu Picchu to the Great Wall of China. We’ve already got a Julia’s House team making their way around the world and it would be great to have some competition! The challenge will help keep you motivated and fit during lockdown and you can also go exploring on Google Street View and imagine you’re there even if we can’t travel right now. It’s good adventure holiday planning for when we can! Sign up is £12.99 per destination (you get access to the mobile app and a collectable medal) and we are hoping everyone will fundraise £100 on their virtual global trip. £100 that will help to keep vulnerable children and families safe and well at home during lockdown and beyond. Find our more: juliashouse.org/events
Everyone’s given Julia’s House amazing support throughout 2020 and we need that amazing help to continue, so we can continue to be there for the children and families who have no-one else to turn to.
We at Nite hope this has provided some insight into what life for Julia’s House has been like over the past year. They have had many challenges to overcome yet their team have adapted quickly and worked tirelessly to continue to provide the support that their families rely on. There is no doubt that their work is vital and we would like to thank the whole team at Julia’s House for everything they do. We at Nite couldn’t be prouder to support them and we hope that you too are able to support Julia’s House in any way you can. juliashouse.org/events