Julia’s House children’s hospice has launched an urgent appeal to plug a £1m back hole and help Wiltshire’s most seriously ill children.

The Gazette has joined forces with the charity, calling on the community to help raise £1.5m vital funding because it relies entirely on public support.

The Together We Care Appeal aims to raise awareness of its work with children who have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families across the county, supporting them at home, in the community or at the hospice in Devizes.

Deputy chief executive Mike Bartlett said: “We’re so grateful to our supporters for their generous donations and fundraising efforts over the last few years, particularly the last challenging 18 months.

“But with an increasing demand for our services, we need more ongoing support to maintain our vital service in Wiltshire.

“We are currently raising £1m less in Wiltshire than we need each year to fund the care that local families depend on, and we can’t rely on legacy donations as they are so unpredictable year to year.”

The charity’s nurses and carers provide free and expert clinical care to allow parents to rest and recharge while their child is being looked after.

Caring for a child with complex needs can be isolating, scary and exhausting, taking a toll on families’ mental as well as physical health.

Mike explained: “We help the children and families make the most of their precious time together and support them through the tough times too.

“During hospital stays and when a child passes away, our nurses and carers continue to be by their side.

“The families we support often call us their lifeline and we want to ensure we continue to be that lifeline, now and in the future.”

It is estimated that the number of babies, children and young people living with life-limiting conditions has almost trebled in England over the past two decades, according to research conducted by the University of York.

“There is a growing demand for the specialist care we provide in Wiltshire,” said Claire Hudson Cooper, Julia’s House director of care. “We want to be there for every local seriously ill child and family that needs us. But we need everyone’s help in Wiltshire to do that.

“We really hope our Together We Care Appeal will help raise awareness of the vital work of the Julia’s House nurses and carers and how important local support is to the families we care for.

“In Wiltshire we’re 100 per cent funded by our supporters, so we can only provide care if we care together.”

The charity is encouraging people, businesses, organisations, and community groups to show their support in any way they can from donations and fundraising, to joining in with events and volunteering.

The team hopes to reach its target by Christmas next year. 

Mike said: “We know times are still challenging for many of us.

“But we need to ensure we continue to be there to support the most vulnerable children and families in our local community.”

The charity is inviting people to come and show they care by having their photograph taken for a We Care Bear selfie sculpture in different locations in Wiltshire.

Visit the Julia’s House tent to see the giant bear from 10am to 4pm at The Brittox, Devizes on September 24, Market Place, Salisbury on September 25 and High Street, Chippenham on September 26.

The final photo sculpture will feature in different locations across Wiltshire and the Julia’s House Devizes hospice garden.

The Gazette and Herald editor Pete Gavan said “Julia’s House does fantastic work for families across Wiltshire, and I’d encourage all our readers to dig deep and do all they can to help it meet its fundraising target.

“As you can read from the case studies we carry today, the support Julia’s House gives is vital, so we should all do all we can to make sure the appeal hits its £1.5m target.”

Find out more information about the Together We Care Appeal and different ways to support local children and families at juliashouse.org/together-we-care


THERE are various ways the public can support the new £1.5m appeal launched by Julia’s House.

Local people as well as businesses, organisations and community groups can organise and take part in events or donate and fundraise to support the charity.

Those willing to support the appeal can donate any amount from £10.

That money could help to provide anything from baking or craft supplies for a creative and sensory play session to £125,000 to help fund the children’s hospice service across the whole county for one month.

The charity organises several fundraising events throughout the year to help raise funds.

Donors can leave legacies or join the regular lottery.

People can volunteer to help run events or support the charity shops. There are a variety roles available within its fundraising office team.

To support local families and the Julia’s House Together We Care Appeal, visit: juliashouse.org