Ty Hafan

#family friday

my first 100 days at tŷ hafan

Our CEO, Maria Timon Samra, reflects on the last 100 days since starting her role at Tŷ Hafan and thanks our supporters who've been there for us through the ups and downs we’ve faced as a charity fighting the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Ty Hafan CEO Maria Timon Samra

As we all know, the Coronavirus pandemic has presented numerous challenges for us in recent months. As well as having a direct impact on our staffing levels across the organisation, our fundraising activities have been severely disrupted and our retail network closed.

Despite this, our focus at Tŷ Hafan has not changed. We are still working hard to continue to provide essential support and end-of-life care for the children and families in our care.

We rely almost entirely on our fundraising sources to raise funds for our provision of care, so the closure of our shops for the past four and a half months and cancellation of our entire events schedule for the year has had a massive impact on our income.

In addition to taking advantage of the furlough scheme and some retail grants, we have relied on the kind generosity of donors, grants and gifts from foundations and our Crackerjackpot lottery to generate much needed funds for care.

As we were in the midst of fundraising for, and delivering, a major hospice refurbishment project, we had to extend this by six months to ensure the safety of both the construction teams and our own workforce. However, as always, we continue to be motivated by the privilege of being there for our children and families in their time of need.

All the life-limited children accessing Tŷ Hafan’s services are exceptionally clinically vulnerable. This means that since mid-March, most have remained at home with their families. This has added an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety to their already difficult and challenging lives. Parents have been round-the-clock carers without the usual support offered by extended families, and over the duration of the crisis have become increasingly exhausted.

Hari, from Swansea, during a virtual music therapy session

With this in mind, Tŷ Hafan quickly transformed its services so that families know we were always there, just in a different way. Our community services have been delivered mostly through video enabled technology - family support, music therapy, play or story massage - by the same staff who are familiar to, and trusted by, our families.

Our hospice has stayed open for children in crisis, and for children who need our expert end of life care. Sadly we have needed to support a number of families through the devastating loss of their child during this time, and our wonderful team has grappled with the challenges of PPE while delivering sensitive care at this most precious of times.

By responding quickly and flexibly, our model of care has maintained its essential qualities - personalised and heartful, and a vital lifeline for families.

Now in its 21st year, we are working very hard to ensure our charity endures through this crisis. We will continue to grapple with the challenges and uncertainties it brings so that we will be here for the children and families in Wales who need us for many years to come.