Hope House is delighted to announce it has bagged £4,000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.
Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £60 million to over 18,000 local community projects.
Millions of shoppers have voted in Tesco stores up and down the country and it can now be revealed we have been awarded an incredible £4,000 to fund vital support to children who have a terminally ill brother or sister, and children who have suffered a close bereavement.
Every week, three local families face their biggest fear their child dies. Sadly, we can currently only afford to help one family. When families are facing the most devastating loss of their lives, we must be there.
When Katie and Mia's little brother Arthur died suddenly at 2 years old, they were heartbroken.
“I was really upset. I didn’t want to show Mum and Dad so I kept it inside. It made me sad when they were upset and I didn’t want to give them any more reasons to be upset,” says Mia.
“Arthur was ill then he got a bit better then worse again and I thought that he might die. Then when it happened I blamed myself a lot because I thought that by thinking it might happen I had made it happen.
“I didn’t want to see Arthur in the hospital. It didn’t feel right but I wondered where he was and what was happening to him.”
Thankfully, shortly afterwards Arthur’s body was moved to Hope House's Snowflake Suite - a temperature controlled bedroom, with a private lounge and garden. It is a special place where families can take their time to say goodbye over a number of days while being supported by a dedicated team of specialist nurses, carers and counsellors who are experts in child bereavement and in caring for the whole family.
Mia said:“Arthur looked like nothing had happened. Everyone was happier than they had been. Hope House helped everyone around me and made things a bit easier. Over the next few days we spent a lot of time with Arthur which was good.
Katie too cherished her time snuggled up saying goodbye to her little brother.
“When we went to Hope House to see Arthur it was emotional but I was really happy that I could see him again. I kept chatting to him and I couldn’t stop. I whispered ‘Who is your favourite person?’ and he said ‘Katie’. I didn’t really cry I was just happy.”
Mia and Katie also spent time with our specialist Sibling Support workers, Mary and Sheri, who are experienced in providing support to brothers and sisters of children who are seriously ill or who have died. In the months and years that followed Mary and Sheri continued to provide regular support to the girls.
Mia found comfort taking part in outings and activities organised by Mary and Sheri for groups of young people who had been bereaved. Being older, she initially found it difficult to talk about her feelings and felt it was her responsibility to make sure her family was happy.
“On trips it was nice to be happy and not to have to think about things and if I got upset it didn’t matter. It was nice to be able to let myself go. We talked a little bit and enjoyed the day. Everyone is about the same age and feel the same so they understand which is comforting.
Katie talks about the difference Hope House made to her and the whole family: “I have a book I write in about Arthur that I keep in my Memory Box. Now when I think of Arthur they are happy thoughts.
“If I do get emotional or feel sad I know that Hope House is there for me. They have helped Mum and Dad too. They had stopped talking as much as they used to. Now we are all chatty and talk about Arthur all the time.”
Thanks to the support of the local community and the generosity of Tesco we will be one step closer to reaching brothers and sisters like Katie and Mia to ensure that no one suffers the death of a child alone.
Hope House Area Fundraiser, Lynsey Kilvert said:
"We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from Tesco's bags of help scheme and cannot thank the customers of Tesco, Ellesmere enough for voting for Hope House and Ty Gobaith. Thanks to their support we will be able to be there for children like Katie and Mia when they need us most and for that, we are truly grateful."
Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said:
“Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”
Voting ran in stores throughout July and August with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.
Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.
Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:
“Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”
To find out more about the bags of help grant scheme please visit: www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp