Sponsor a Sibling was created to support the siblings of children with life limiting and life threatening conditions and bereaved siblings
Why we need your help!
With your help we can raise the funds needed to carry out the adaptions needed in our second holiday home (caravan/lodge) when we purchase it.
We purchased our first caravan 2 years ago and we are just entering our third season of giving Siblings of children with life limiting and life threatening conditions and also bereaved siblings and their families much needed free of charge holidays.
We have had the most positive feedback and to date enabled over 70 families, the majority of whom would usually struggle with the stereotypical restraints and time frames of booking a holiday to have an amazing, unforgettable break. This gives our families a chance to make the most treasured memories and have a few days away from the usual routines of appointments ect. Our holidays not only benefit the siblings, but the whole family immensely.
We have spoke to many families that have both stayed with us and those unable to and work tirelessly to try and put procedures in place to make the holidays as enjoyable for our families as possible.
A lot of families are unable to use our services or many holidays operators properties due to needing more specialised adapted facilities.
One Mum explained "For us a profiling bed is a must, Our daughter needs to sleep at a certain angle to help prevent aspiration (fluid into the lungs). It is also so we can access her in the night to reposition/change her and in an emergency. It also helps us to prevent damage to our backs"
We were also told how important a wet room is too.
"A wet room is important to our child because they are unable to sit independently or support their head. A wet room gives us the space to wash our child as well as allowing us to easily maneuver their equipment to safety if they have seizures"
This is where we need your help.
We are currently in the process of successfully raising funds for a second holiday home (caravan/lodge). With your help we would like to be able to secure funding to have the work carried out to allow the siblings of the most medically fragile children to take a holiday.
This would mean the bathroom would be turned into a wet room, we could add ceiling hoist tracks and widen the door ways. We could also purchase a profiling bed.
We have spoke to a contractor who specialises in adaptions and we are very excited that what we would like to do is possible. If the funds are available we can have the adaptions completed as soon as purchased meaning families will benefit at the earliest possible opportunity.
Thank you for taking the time to read and please scroll down to find out why we do what we do!
*Photos for illustrational purposes only to give an idea - they maybe different when bought*
A little about our amazing charity...………………..
Founded in 2016, Sponsor a sibling has become a highly valued service to offer support to the siblings of children with life threatening or life limiting conditions and bereaved siblings and their families throughout the United Kingdom.
Created by the Mum of two little boys, who knew from personal experience the effect that having a sick brother or sister, or the devastating impact of having suffered the death of a brother or sister had on siblings and knew that a small act of kindness could boost a siblings morale and most importantly make them "Smile"!
Back where it began...………………………………
In July 2014, Harry aged 5, youngest son of Laura and Graham and brother to Joshua aged 8, was diagnosed with Batten disease, a neuro degenerative condition that affects the brain. Harry changed from being a healthy 5 year old, over time, losing the ability to walk, talk and swallow, resulting in many medical interventions including a feeding tube and now needing 24 hour care.
Over the coming months it was noted how pro active Joshua was with Harrys care, the frightening procedures he had to learn and the intrusive things he had to witness. He learnt how to call an ambulance and get help and spent many hours sitting in hospitals. All whilst having to go about the day to day things children have to, school, peer pressure and the usual worries of growing up. On many occasions Joshua had to cancel play dates and miss out on planned trips due to the consequences of Harrys illness. He never complained. Joshua has experienced things most adults find distressing and difficult to process!
JOSHUA IS NOT ALONE!
In the UK there are over half a million young sibling carers helping to look after their brothers and sisters!
Laura realised through meeting many families in similar circumstances how the same thing was always echoed - how inspirational all the siblings are and how much they deserved recognition.
HENCE THE REASON SPONSOR A SIBLING WAS BORN!
What we provide............................................
We knew if a lot of people could provide a little kindness we could create some simple services that would help to make these amazing Super Siblings smile. Since September 2016 we have made hundreds of Super Siblings smile and feel special.
- Personalised gift packs with a Super Sibling certificate for siblings nominated by friends or family. When a child is diagnosed with a life threatening condition they receive lots of love and attention. There are a multitude of charities that provide holidays, wishes and sensory toys, just to name a few to the poorly child. We thought siblings deserved something too. Each sibling that is nominated has a wishlist designed around their interests and we have kind supporters purchase gifts. These are then wrapped and send with a Super Sibling certificate.
WISH LIST AVAILABLE AT https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/3FOQ6HWO87SGQ?ref_=wl_share.
- We believe Super Siblings should be recognised for the stars they are! Each sibling award is presented with a trophy, certificate, teddy and chocolates. We see lots of siblings nominated for carer awards. Whilst this is a fabulous recognition of what a Super Sibling they are, we always worry for the ones that don't "Win". We feel EVERY sibling should be recognised, therefore we accept nominations for our very own Super Sibling awards. Awards are then sponsored at a cost of £25 and you even get a mention on the certificate.
- The death of a child is still very much a taboo subject. Our keepsake packs help siblings to talk about their brother and sister and give an ever lasting connection. Our keepsake packs contain a teddy for EVERY sibling, something to treasure forever. A name a star gift, a photo frame and seeds - all presented in a beautiful keepsake box for the most precious memories.
alongside this we provide hospital packs, seasonal gifts and have a range of books that families are able to borrow.
But that's not all, we also give free of charge holidays to Super Siblings and their families in our Sponsor a Sibling caravan!
As a family and through discussions with other parents we learnt of the harsh impact that having a poorly child has on what most people take for granted - a family holidays.
We spoke to many parents that had to cancel holidays because of illness, losing out financially as well as the emotional impact. Families that could not book holidays in advance due to the unpredictability of a child's condition and families that lost days of their break having to start late or cut short for the many hospital appointments that are scheduled. Not to mention the struggle of finding suitable accommodation equipped with hoists and accessible for those with mobility issues.
We thought, for the sake of the siblings, we could do something to help.
In November 2017, we purchased a wheelchair accessible caravan on the Essex coast to offer our families much needed free of charge holidays.
Holidays are tailored completely around families needs, booked on a last minute basis, able to commence on any day of the week and can be used for any number of nights, even just 1.
It includes all entertainment passes meaning Siblings get the chance to experience the true seaside holiday experience and just for a few days and forget the challenges they sometimes face in day to day life. It is also an ideal opportunity for families to use whilst a child is in the hospice for respite and has been used by many families to reminisce and have time out following a bereavement. In our first 2 seasons of offering holidays, we are very proud to have been able to welcome over 65 families in our lovely caravan.
Our caravan costs approximately £10,000 per year to run.
A review from a family
"Thank You Sponsor A Sibling
We have not managed to afford a holiday in many years and when we did manage to book something we lost some or all of our money due to cancellation with having a sibling who has life debilitating Liver Disease and health which is hugely unpredictable.
Our other sibling cares for her ill sibling and mother at times and life is always very challenging and huge hard work and emotional turmoil. This can effect a sibling emotionally, mentally & physically even more so when trying to keep their own health and education.
We can never find a caravan or in fact anywhere that has a hoist, disabled toilet, shower, kitchen etc and in fact often our wheelchair or scooter does not even fit through the doors so huge wide doors are something that’s also essential. Being able to have no struggles to use the bathroom, get in and out of bed, eat together, cook, and the big one wash in comfort. We have spent 2 weeks at Park Dean Resorts Highfield Grange in Clacton-on-Sea and I can not express in enough words what this has meant for us all as for once a complete family holiday in comfort.
We had absolutely everything we required, hoist, disabled shower, toilet, wide doors, kitchen access, big lounge and comfy beds, also with oxygen tubes, pads, wipes, soap, bedding, tea/coffee and just so much, much more, this also limited the amount we had to pack giving us much more travel room too.
This caravan has helped us enjoy activities as a family, eat together, stay together and made the whole experience much more stress free and a huge amount of less work especially for our well/carer sibling. We have had memories to treasure, which we will have for a lifetime and something we will never have had without this amazing caravan, we have bonded as a family unit and built broken bridges, been able to give dedicated time to our carer sibling which is often rare occasions.
This is a holiday which I can only describe as a “Most Amazing Family Holiday Of A Lifetime”.
We can’t thank Sponsor A Sibling enough for this affordable opportunity that has helped us so much as a family."
We have had the most amazing response to our caravan and helped families to create so many amazing memories, however there are still so many more we could help.
We are now successfully fundraising towards our second holiday home (caravan/lodge)
Not only will a second holiday home enable us to provide so many more much needed holidays, our new caravan will have a wet room and a hospital bed to mean that even the most medically fragile children can enjoy a holiday with their brothers and sisters. It will have double glazing and central heating which will enable year round use.
Importantly it will also give those families that need it, the option to bring a carer, meaning they can have a little down time too. In 2019 we have had families who have paid £60 per night to accommodate a carer whilst on holiday.
*Photos for illustrational purposes only to give an idea - they maybe different when bought*
Why should YOU support SPONSOR A SIBLING?
Well, where do we start!
Sponsor a sibling is run purely by volunteers. We all provide our time for free and working in our own homes, means we have no overheads. We are proud to say 100% of the funds we receive are used to support Super Siblings.
You will be helping us to help some of the most amazing children you will ever meet. We see lots of adverts and charities about poorly children. Have you ever sat for a moment and contemplated the knock on effect on their brothers and sisters?
With these adaptions, our caravans will create the memories that families often think is not possible. We have had many families holiday that have never experienced on before and thought they never would.
You will enable a sibling to "just be a sibling" for a few days, forgetting the hospitals, the sacrifices and the worries and just be a child.
If you would like to fundraise for us or make an offline donation please don't hesitate to get in contact.
You can also follow our progress on Facebook.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
The Sponsor a sibling team.