Above - John Hummelstad (right), Chairman of Queensland Kids visiting the Treehouse pictured with EACH Trustee Will Self (left)
Wednesday 18 February was a historic day for children’s palliative care in Australia as work began on Hummingbird House; a joint initiative of Wesley Mission Brisbane and Queensland Kids.
There are only two children’s hospices in the whole of Australia for a population of 23 million, compared with the 49 children’s hospices for the 63 million people living in the UK. Hummingbird House will provide vital palliative care and respite support to Queensland families with children affected by life-threatening conditions.
EACH are twinned with Queensland Kids and have supported the start-up phase of Hummingbird House and will continue to offer advice on organisational structure and the development of their model of care, staff training and charity shop strategy.
The relationship began when Queensland Kids co-founders Paul and Gabrielle Quilliam visited EACH in October 2013 and discussions about a twinning project began in March 2014. Since then, EACH has provided various support for Queensland Kids as they work towards establishing Hummingbird House as the only children’s hospice in Queensland.
There’s also a Royal link between the two charities. The Duchess of Cambridge is EACH Royal Patron and during the Duke and Duchess’ tour of Australia and New Zealand last year, The Duchess met with Paul and Gabrielle, to talk about children’s palliative care provision and the new Hummingbird House hospice.
Paul Quilliam, Hummingbird House General manager, said “At any one time in Queensland approximately 3,700 families live with, love and support a child with a life-limiting condition. These families experience significant pressures. They desperately need a break, a place to go where their children will be cared for, where they can reconnect as a couple and as a family and where, when the time comes, they will have a supportive environment to say goodbye to their child; they need Hummingbird House.”
Construction of Hummingbird House is expected to be complete by the end of the 2015 and will include a heated indoor pool, unique wheelchair accessible outdoor tree house and swing, orchard and sensory garden. The hospice will be able to accommodate up to eight children and five families at a time.
We’ll look forward to seeing the developments of Hummingbird House and will keep you updated with progress!