SULLY-BASED children’s hospice Ty Hafan is celebrating 15 years of caring for life-limited children and their families this weekend.
Wales’s first children’s hospice was founded by one woman from Beddau, Suzanne Goodall, after 11 years of fundraising
Since the Hayes Road hospice first opened its doors on January 25, 15 years ago, 585 life-limited children, young people and their families have been supported by the charity.
Of those, 51 children lived in the Vale of Glamorgan, with Jacob Ferriday, from Barry, T? Hafan’s first referral,
Jacob was only a baby when he first visited T? Hafan and was referred in 1998 – before the hospice was even built.
One of seven children, Jacob, 17, suffers from the condition encephalopathy which is a brain disorder and means that he has profound learning difficulties, development delay and epilepsy.
His mum, Sally, said T? Hafan said she wouldn’t have been able to cope without the support of Ty Hafan.
“When we first visited the hospice I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
“It was hard for me to leave Jacob because he was very young and I was not used to being apart from him. I was reassured by the care team and very soon, felt completely at ease. I instantly felt the pressure lift. I hadn’t realised how tired I was or quite how much care I’d been giving until I had that break.”
Sally praised the facilities and care at Ty Hafan.
“If I was to describe what T? Hafan provides in one word, it would be ‘support’,” she said.
“They are always there for us, whether that be at the hospice, in hospital or at home.
“Looking back, I really don’t think we would have coped without T? Hafan. They have been a godsend and we are incredibly grateful for everything they’ve done over the last 15 years.”
Recognising the lack of provision for life-limited children and their families inspired Suzanne Goodall’s 11 year fundraising campaign to build the stunning hospice overlooking the Bristol Channel in Sully.
Research into the need for a children’s hospice established that there were as many as 300 children in Wales that could benefit from the service.
Suzanne said: “My retirement was put on hold when I felt driven to campaign for a children’s hospice in Wales to provide expertise and loving care to the children who had only a short life. My aim was to provide support and short break care to hard-pressed families, coping with unimaginable stress.
“I had no doubts that the people of Wales, understanding the situation that these children and families faced, would open their hearts and give generously. My faith was justified. In 1999, after 11 years of hard work, T? Hafan opened its doors and we saw the first families cross the threshold. T? Hafan’s hospice truly is a haven.”
Landmarks in the history of the children’s hospice include: Ty Hafan being registered as a charity in 1990, the site being obtained in Sully for the building of the hospice in 1993, , Pavarotti holding a concert in Cardiff to raise money for T? Hafan in 1995, building of the hospice being opened in 1996, the hospice building being handed over to T? Hafan for fitting and equipping in 1997 and T? Hafan opening its doors to the first families in 1999.
Supporters raised an incredible £2.6million to build and equip T? Hafan which finally opened its doors on January 25, 1999.
Celebrating its 15 year anniversary is an important milestone for the charity as it continues to care for more and more life-limited children and their families each year. Since opening, the charity has extended its services beyond short-break care and offers its support in communities across Wales.
The annual cost to run the service has risen to £3.5million and the charity continues to rely heavily on the generosity of the public, its corporate sponsors and volunteers to provide its services.
To support T? Hafan, please visit www.tyhafan.org or call 029 2053 2199.