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Helen & Douglas House children visit the Science Oxford Centre

Tuesday 10th March 2020

We were pleased to have children from Helen and Douglas House visit our new Science Oxford Centre at Stansfeld Park, Headington.

Helen & Douglas House is an Oxford-based children’s hospice that cares for terminally ill children and their families when they need it most. They provide round-the-clock care for children in a peaceful ‘home-from-home setting’, where families can create happy memories in the child’s last days, weeks, months, or even years together. Their support is extended to all members of the family – parents, siblings and even grandparents – and includes bereavement support once a child dies.

The world-renowned hospice was set up by Sister Frances Dominica in 1982 to provide respite care to families suffering from life-threatening conditions. The care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, carers and therapists and is supported, in the main, by donations from the public: they need to raise £3.6 million each year to support families from Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

Team Leader Laura Craddock has been planning a trip to the Science Oxford Centre for several months. She runs the Sibling Support Programme at Helen and Douglas House and brought a group of ten children, aged six to eleven, to the Centre on Thursday to give them a new, exciting experience. First up, Laura ran some team-building challenges in our workshop space and then the children explored the twenty exhibits in our Exploration Zone. And last but not least, they invented their own games outside in the woodland. All in all, it was a busy couple of hours!

Having a brother or sister with life-limiting illness can be really hard on a child or young person. Laura and her team provide 1:1 support to siblings in the hospice, at home, or at school, where they can talk about their experiences. Getting out and about visiting places like Science Oxford is all part of the rehabilitation process and allows siblings to have a real break and a change from day-to-day life.

The Helen and Douglas House trip was generously funded and organised by staff from global healthcare company Abbott’s Witney site. Every two years, employees at the site choose a local charity to support and this time around the clear winner was Helen and Douglas House. The teams at the local Abbott site have raised £39,000 for the charity by organising fundraising events throughout the year. It was Abbott’s sponsorship of Science Oxford’s Big Science Event last summer that put two and two together and a visit to our new Centre was proposed to Helen and Douglas House.

Laura said the afternoon was a huge success as there is something at the Science Oxford Centre for all ages and interests. After playing on the gear table in the Exploration Zone, one child announced that he now wanted to be an engineer! Well, that’s what Science Oxford is all about – inspiring young children about the wonders and possibilities of science. Laura said “we would definitely like to come back – perhaps to one of your shows in the theatre?” Thanks to Abbott for sponsoring the Helen and Douglas House visit. We look forward to seeing you again!

To find out more about Helen and Douglas House, see here:

To find out more about visiting our Science Oxford Centre, see here:

For more information about Abbott, see here:


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