Ipswich mum explains how EACH Help at Home ‘has made such a positive impact’ on family life, as service approaches three-year anniversary

Ipswich mum explains how EACH Help at Home ‘has made such a positive impact’ on family life, as service approaches three-year anniversary

Aug 29, 2019
It has been almost three years since we first matched a volunteer with a family as part of EACH Help at Home!

The service, designed to give families we offer care to practical help around their homes, has since seen volunteers offer more than 2,800 hours of help.

Stephanie Hawley, 33, is among those to have benefited. The single mother from Ipswich, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital, lives with her three-year-old daughter. Ella, who attends Hunnitots Day Nursery, has the only ever case of a particular genetic abnormality - triplication of chromosome 16p - epilepsy, developmental delay and behavioural issues. She also has mobility issues and frequently falls.

She has received care from us since the age of just six months, enjoying short breaks at The Treehouse, as well as hydrotherapy sessions to help with her mobility issues and music therapy.

Stephanie and Ella are supported at home by Sadie Kate, also from Ipswich. She has been visiting weekly, usually at weekends for an hour-and-a-half at a time, since August 2018.

Stephanie said: “The support provided by Sadie has made such a positive impact on our family’s life. As a single mum who does shift work and whose child has additional needs, it’s impossible for me to maintain the garden as well as everything else. Without Sadie helping Ella wouldn’t be able to play in the garden. She regularly cuts the grass and carries out work so it’s safe for Ella, and she’s also painted and restored areas so that it looks presentable!”

As well as gardening Sadie Kate hoovers, dusts and tries to carry out any other tasks Stephanie has not been able to get round to. It has not just been beneficial for Stephanie and Ella, though.

Sadie Kate, who works as a referrals officer for CF Social Work, in Ipswich, explained: “I decided to get involved as I’d never volunteered before and was finally in a financial position whereby I could afford to give my free time to a worthy local cause.

“Most importantly, I wanted to strengthen my relationship with children in general as, having been raised as an only child and being without a family of my own, I struggled to interact with children and had resigned myself to the opinion that I simply didn’t like them very much!

“My partner at the time also had a child I was rather anxious about being introduced to and I believed getting involved with EACH could help this. While this relationship didn't last, my relationship with the hospice and my assigned family is still going strong!

“I more than enjoy my work with the charity. Volunteering has opened up opportunities for experiences and relationships that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as part of this process and have been inspired in so many ways by the families who use the hospice, and, indeed, my fellow volunteers.”

EACH Volunteer Manager Hugh McElhinney has led EACH Help at Home since its inception and said it was common for volunteering to be a two-way process.

“The account Sadie Kate’s given of how supporting a family has enriched her life is typical of what we hear from volunteers. The tasks carried out in a visit are so simple, ones that you might not give a second thought to normally, but for parents of children with a life-threatening condition finding the time to do them can be really difficult. Time is so precious and having the support of a volunteer at home gives these parents more opportunity to just be parents, rather than caregivers.”

It is estimated there are currently over 2,000 children and young people in East Anglia who could benefit from our support and as the population grows, and continued improvements in care mean children are able to live longer, that number could grow to as high as 6,000 by 2025. That, in turn, means we are constantly looking for volunteers, no matter how much time they have to give, even if just an hour a month.

Sadie Kate said: “I would tell anyone thinking of volunteering with EACH to jump in feet first! The work is varied and so very rewarding. No day or visit is ever the same, and you can be part of some truly great projects through the hospice. While not always easy, the time spent giving home help is never dull and there’s always a great support network available should you need to seek advice or guidance. There are also some great social events and projects organised throughout the year, at which you can meet and share your experiences with other volunteers and staff.”

EACH Help at Home currently runs in Suffolk and East Essex, and Cambridgeshire and West Essex. It will soon launch in Norfolk to coincide with the opening of our new hospice in the county, the nook. For more information about becoming an EACH Help at Home volunteer contact Hugh on 07714 737139 or at hugh.mcelhinney@each.org.uk.
For those who wish to support EACH in a different way, there are a range of other volunteering opportunities across its shops, offices and hospices. Click here to find out more.

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  • EACH helped us with coping mechanisms and special ways of remembering Stanley. Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • Renee loves going to The Treehouse, but it’s great that care staff are also able to visit us at home too. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • It’s been a great opportunity to meet other parents in a similar situation, something that doesn't really happen anywhere else. Helen, William’s mum
  • We arrived at the hospice feeling scared and alone. We had so many questions – they answered them all and more. Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • EACH has helped us keep Stanley’s memory alive. And allows us to look to the future Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • We are also supported by the 24/7 True Colours nurses and it’s so reassuring knowing we can call on them whenever we need support or advice Helen, William’s mum
  • EACH helps us to create lovely memories and has played an important part in all of our lives, not just Lucy’s. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • I really love going to the hospice. I’ve made friends there and get to do loads of fun stuff. Renee
  • I didn’t realise hope was a gift until I became a mum. My little boy taught me many things and that was one of them Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • When we first heard about the hospice we were apprehensive because we didn’t know what to expect. When we got there we realised it was a lovely place where Renee would be well looked after, and we would be able to have a much-needed break. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • Children like Lucy don’t get the opportunity to go to sleepovers or to their friends for tea, so the interaction she has at the hospice is priceless. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • EACH supports families when they’re at their absolute lowest, helping them to come to terms with their child’s illness, losing them and beyond Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • The play specialists are excellent and I also get inspiration from the activities they organise. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • I can’t imagine what it would have been like. Nobody should have to, every family should be offered the support we were, and are still getting Claire, Jacob’s mum

The Treehouse

St. Augustine’s Gardens,
Ipswich, IP3 8NS


Church Lane, Milton,
Cambridge, CB24 6AB

The Nook

Pigot Lane, Framingham Earl
Norfolk, NR14 7PX