Noah’s Ark laid the first brick at its hospice building on Friday 16 March. Families, the community, funders, corporate supporters and local residents came together at, what will be, The Ark for a celebratory event at the future hospice site.
“Three and a half years ago the families, volunteers and our supporters – ‘The Noah’s Ark Family’ – came together to tell us their dream of what The Ark needed to do to fill the gap in provision in London,” said Ru Watkins, Noah’s Ark Chief Executive. “We have continued to work with many fantastic supporters, not only from Noah’s Ark but also from health and social care providers; London Boroughs; other charities and the construction industry to lay the first brick.”
The Ark is the first children’s hospice building in North and Central London serving the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Islington and Haringey, and Hertsmere. There are over 1,200 babies and children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions in the area but, tragically, no children’s hospice building.
Nicki Styles, mother of 18-year-old Brandon who is supported by Noah’s Ark, said, “I see the new hospice building as a place to come together as a family and know that you will get high quality care and support. To be able to spend time with others in similar situations supporting and sharing the good and the sad times of our lives. Where we all understand the realities and nuances of living with seriously ill children and young people.”
The new state-of-the-art hospice building will offer a range of children’s palliative care services that are not currently available, including sensory, music and wet play rooms; overnight stays to help manage a child or young person’s symptoms; and 24-hour end-of-life-care, including specialised care for new-born babies.
Dr Rachel Black, Director of Care at Noah’s Ark, explained the significance of the day: “Laying the first brick is a momentous step. The hospice building will provide another important way to offer care alongside our established community services. There are many more children, young people and families in our area who might benefit from Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice care services. We are working hard to make sure they can receive the support they need, when they need it, in the best place for them.”
Shakila Siddiqui, mother of 6-year-old Jibraan who is supported by Noah’s Ark, added: “The new hospice building will be a great place for many London families facing challenging times. They’ll be able to connect and meet with other families with similar experiences, which is always a huge help! It’s wonderful to know that there’s a local spot for families to be able to spend time with their loved ones in a comfortable environment.”