Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS)

The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) provides the only hospice service in Scotland for children and young people with life shortening conditions. The hospices support the whole family by offering short planned breaks, emergency support, end of life care and a range of bereavement services.

The Crerar Hotels Trust funding will support the creation ofa new Playspace at Robin House (Balloch) providing facilities and opportunities to increase children’s, wellbeing, provide distraction from pain and set aside the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by their illness.

CHAS, Established in 1992, is the sole provider of children’s hospice services in Scotland, caring for babies, children and young people with a wide range of life shortening conditions for which there is no known cure and their families. Often rare, these conditions may be identified before birth but sometimes don’t emerge for days, weeks, months or even years later. While some babies will reach childhood and even become young adults, for many their lives will be unbearably sort.

Caring for a child with a life shortening condition can place unimaginable demands on families physically and emotionally. In response, CHAS offers care in two purpose built hospices for children of all ages, Rachel house in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch. We also provide home care to families across Scotland through our CHAS at Home Service.

The renovation of the new Playspace at Robin House children’s hospice in Balloch by Loch Lomond will provide the facilities and opportunities to increase children’s wellbeing, provide distraction from pain and set aside the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by their illness. These restrictions include the medical requirements of their conditions. The children and young are often in adapted wheelchairs or, when very poorly or at the end of life, in specialist medical beds. Many of the children receiving care at Robin House are now ventilated which means they require bulky medical equipment alongside them twenty four hours a day.

The new play space will re-house the existing small Art room and create new spaces for an Activity Room, Under 13s den, a gaming space, messy play and sink area. The existing multi-sensory and soft play areas within the two large obstructive cone areas will be re-housed elsewhere in the hospice.

Many of the children and young people we help are unable to communicate using words and often rely on parents, siblings and carers for most everyday basic needs such as getting dressed, washing and eating. As a result, the opportunity to share experience with their peers and to self-express through art and play is builds self-esteem and supports vital feelings of normalcy.

The adapted Playspace will help provide respite from and address and challenges families of a child with a life shortening condition face every day. Many siblings provide a caring role at home and coming to Robin House is the only time they can enjoy these benefits of play and creative expression free from the responsibility of caring for their brother or sister or helping their parents. Furthermore, many parents experience physical and social isolation because of the emotional and practical demands of caring for their child so coming to Robin House is often their only opportunity to meet people in similar situations and make new positive relationships.

These exciting, stimulating, fun experiences and therapies for children of all abilities and ages ranging from messy play to musical performances will encourage development, assist communication and expression and be enjoyed by every member of the family. Through creative play and tailored activities, the Playroom will help reduce stress and anxiety, encourage laughter and provide distraction from pain and illness.