What We Do & AIM To Do At NORTHWOOD Through Our Supportive Projects……
PROJECT HOPE – HELP OUR PEOPLE
Having a child who is sick or clinically compromised adds a lot of weight to a families functioning life. What we try to do at Northwood therefore, is to offer family support from the moment a child is referred.
It’s also very important to understand that receiving care from a children’s hospice doesn’t mean that a child’s death is imminent – many children who will visit us at Northwood will be living active lives but will also, at times, need to share some “respite” time in a supportive, caring environment.
Family support also means that we understand that the whole family should be included in the special care that we offer to their child or grandchild and so our support is free of charge to families so that they can all share and be a part of a journey which can be filled with so many challenges and emotional see-saws.
Sadly, we still live in a City where many families, young children and teens are struggling to survive with basic food and clothing. We live in a City where, very often, high unemployment compounds the natural strength and resistance found in most families, We also live in a community where the tragedy of sorrow has already left behind its fingers of pain for many of the grandparents whose own children have struggled, died and suffered with disease.
It is for these families that we try to ease the burden of responsibility by ensuring that supplementary packs of vitamins, milk and nourishing foods are sent to help them to care for their grandchildren as often as we can manage.
During the cold winter months we also ensure that through the generosity of many others in the community, donated warm jersey’s, beanie’s, blankets and our specially prepared and laundered clothing for adults and children, are constantly sent out to bring the families a little warmth in the growing knowledge that they are not alone.
Project HOPE is not a dependency project, it is simply a project we have designed in order to help us to hold hands with many of our children and families – even at a distance - because we would like to think that we can help to make every moment they have as a family count - by providing opportunities for relief, fun and laughter, as well as practical support for the whole family through the toughest times.
PROJECT – SMILEY BOXES
Every child loves a surprise and since 2002 we have provided the children with bespoke Smiley Boxes. These wonderful boxes are made for every child and their siblings at Christmas and as far as possible on their Birthdays. A Smiley Box is filled with a simple set of NEW clothing with added stationery for school at Christmas and a simple, personal gift on their Birthdays. One of the ways we encourage everyone we know to help, is to donate a Smiley Box of love.
PROJECT - NORTHWOOD DAY CARE
For some time now, our home at 9 Northwood Road has been a wonderful home from home for many of our children. However, as we move into a future with the Hospice “In-Patient Unit” just over the road, we hope that the Day Care Centre at Northwood will be able to continue to play a more diverse and specific role in the overall holistic care of families.
For instance:- Families of children and young people with a life-limiting condition often find it difficult to fit in day-to-day activities such as attending appointments or simply having a few hours on their own. The day care facility will ensure that referred families can leave their child or teenager with us for just a few hours knowing that they are in a safe, warm environment with experienced and familiar volunteers and team members around them.
Once our In-Patient Unit at Northwood is up and running we will also try our very best to offer referred children an “Emergency Short Stay” time so that families have a place of care for their special child when an unexpected situation arises at home such as Granny being admitted to hospital very suddenly.
Family Support & Therapies
An extensive range of counselling therapies and support groups for the family including parents, siblings and grandparents will be available for those who would like to share their journey with a qualified counsellor/psychologist.
Our Grandparent Support Groups become wonderful opportunities for grannies to get together in order to share their challenges and sorrows. Many of the young grandchildren they are raising belong to a very different kind of world in the 21st Century so through the Grandparents pre and post bereavement workshops, we specifically look at how to support younger families whilst simultaneously facing the challenge of caring for a child with a life limiting clinical prognosis.
Spiritual Care & Counselling
Most families have a wealth of pastors and carers at their fingertips, but sometimes, talking to an objective spiritual counsellor can help family members immensely when they are faced with the indignity of suffering and the approaching death of their child. The Northwood Children’s Chapel is created as a warm yet dignified space for all to enter and to linger if that is what family members or friends would need at any time.
Play is essential for children to develop physically, emotionally and socially. In fact, it is a vital part of their development. Play therapy always aims to develop a safe and accepting space, where children can use play, their natural language, to express themselves.
How can play therapy help?
• Children learn how to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways
• It provides the space to communicate problems the child is unable to vocalise
• It helps the child come to terms with past trauma and to move on
• It increases social and communication skills
• It improves the family’s emotional vocabulary
• It provides a safe space for emotional expression
As well as play therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy advice and support; the range of therapies we hope to provide the families once the Hospice is running will include Psychological Counselling: Art Therapy and Music Therapy.
“Because looking after the complex care needs of a sick child can be stressful and exhausting for all families, we will offer them complementary therapies providing them the opportunity to switch off from the stresses of life in order to relax for just a little while with our team of therapists.”
PROJECT - NORTHWOOD PRE-PRIMARY
The education and stimulation of every child is close to our hearts at Northwood and though we have currently had to close the pre-primary section for the 3-6 year olds due to a lack of funding, we know it will not be forever. We are already working hard to re-establish our little school for the more ambulant special needs children in our care.
We also know that due to the complexity of medical needs, finding a suitable preschool for the 3-6 year olds is always a challenge for the families of children with life-limiting conditions and we will strive to make a significant difference in this regard.
As soon as we can, we will offer a structured multi-sensory curriculum to children and will ensure that each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential with joy.
Children with “special needs” will never be forgotten at Northwood and whilst we know that we cannot become educational specialists for these little ones, we have planned a dedicated stimulation and development centre for special needs children between the ages of 6 months - 7 years within the ISIDIMA Wing of the Children’s Hospice.
As an organisation we remain passionate about sustaining a quality, quantity of life, with challenges and learning achievements in line with the abilities of every child.
The strength of the ISIDIMA UNIT, will be found in the blend of therapeutic care we will offer the children and their families. We truly hope that the whole family will find a nourishing space and supportive expression to some of their own challenges and needs when they visit our homes at Northwood.
PROJECT K.A.T.E (KATE is Kids And Their Education)
For some of the children that we have already managed to stabilise and care for in the pre-primary process, we have seen that their capacity to learn has revealed strengths and aptitudes that should be further developed. It is for these children that we have started the Foundation Phase Bursary Programme and it will be for these children that we will work effortlessly to uphold our promise of a quality, quantity life of meaning and Hope.
Today, as an organisation, we have made a commitment to fully sponsor 20 children with their foundation phase learning. Ongoing, daily oversight and interdisciplinary care is still a vital part
of the programme we provide. Seeing them grow, marvelling at their achievements and watching them become responsible and strong – is a gift we treasure.
PROJECT K.A.T.E. is the gift of education that we will endeavour to share with every child we can at Northwood because it will equip them for life like no other gift – and beyond that, their learning will ultimately gift them with the courage to try and the wings to fly…… No Greater Gift for any child.
PROJECT SMILEY JOE
Raising a family of children as a single parent is filled with many of its own stressors and challenges, but when added to that there is a sick child, life can feel very lonely and tough going. The “well” children can often be delegated to the back seat as regards family priorities and the needs of the child at home can limit the single parent to the extent that there is little or no income beyond the Child Support and Care Dependency Grants.
The SMILEY JOE project was therefore designed and dedicated to single parents capable of studying at tertiary level and completing studies from NQF3 level to an NQF5 level or a formal Degree Qualification.
Inclusion to the programme is earned when single parents show the passion and the “stickability” required when studying, alongside the longing to inspire and create a better life for all of their children.
At Northwood we believe that it’s better to enable parents to be equipped for work and to eventually earn an income to sustain their own families. This is why our course mentorships include a Catering Diploma through INTEC and a B. Ed - Foundation Phase Degree or B Soc. Sci Degree through UNISA.