Twenty years ago Bill Clinton was President of the USA. Britney Spears appeared from nowhere with Baby One More Time, and – probably unknown to Britney - Colin Charvis scored the opening try of the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff. Something else special happened in Wales in 1999 – Tŷ Hafan first opened its doors to life-limited children and their families. It seems impossible now to imagine that Wales simply did not have a children’s hospice back then.
Just as American politics and Welsh rugby have moved on beyond all recognition since 1999, thankfully so has medical science. And those changes have a constant impact on how we care for seriously ill children, their families and how our charity looks to support them. That is why we have decided to undertake a full refurbishment of our hospice building in Sully, South Wales. The world around us is changing, and we have to respond to that in a way that secures another twenty years of world-class support for the families who need it most.
Visitors who come through our doors always talk about the welcoming environment, the fun that everyone is having, and the brilliant facilities. We’re proud of our building. But, the truth is that it is no longer fit for the future – we need to keep pace with the changing world of healthcare, the growing numbers of children who survive for longer, and the ever more complicated needs of our families. Once, we were there to primarily provide respite care – a vital support for families. But, now that is just one part of our mission – now we provide specialist care, counselling, bereavement support and work much more in the community. We are passionate about adapting to the changing needs of families in Wales, whilst keeping close to our founding values.
This change will not come cheap. The refurbishment will cost £1.5million and that is all money we need to raise ourselves through charitable donations. It is one of the things that shocks people the most about the care provided in children’s hospices – that we get only a tiny amount of funding from Government, the NHS or local authorities – roughly 5%. And this is a tough time for charities, because it is a tough time for everyone. Household budgets are stretched and every penny counts. But, at Tŷ Hafan we only exist because of the bravery and vision of those people who filled buckets, wrote letters, and ran marathons – a decade before we opened our doors – and for two decades after that too. We cannot afford to be any less courageous now, this is an exciting mission. Just as Wales needed Tŷ Hafan 20 years ago, Tŷ Hafan now needs Wales to get behind this project so we can get our building fit for the future.
Take a look at our refurbishment appeal video: