The ‘Schools’ Project’, which aims to de-mystify death and dying among youngsters by introducing them to the Hospice and its work, won the award at an event organised by Age UK. Hospice staff collected the award in the ‘Age Friendly Arm in Arm’ category, for enabling people across generations to work together and bridge the gap between young and old.
The project was the brainchild of Hospice CEO Nigel Hartley some years ago, and has grown over the past 15 years into a UK-wide and international initiative, allowing schoolchildren to visit the hospice for consecutive sessions during which time they meet and build relationships with staff, volunteers and patients. So far the sessions have been predominantly with primary schools but the project is opening up to older children too.
“We are naturally delighted that the Schools’ Project has been recognised on the Island. Initially, there was some scepticism among parents who were naturally wary of their sons and daughters spending time at a hospice, but the reactions from the children – sheer enthusiasm and not a jot of fear – were enough to quell any doubts parents may have had. These children will go on to spread the word that the Hospice is not a scary place, and help to dispel the myths surrounding hospice care.
“We are looking forward to continuing the project and reaching to as many children as possible. We extend our continued thanks to Gemma and Aaron at KissyPuppy who, as part of the continued expansion of children’s services at the Hospice, are funding the project for the next year.”
The award was presented to Katie Mansbridge and Pauline Hull, School’s Project co-ordinators at Earl Mountbatten.
Photographed L-R: Paul West, Newport Co-operative store manager; Pauline Hull, Schools’ Project co-ordinator; Kate Mansbridge, Schools’ Project co-ordinator and Simon Thompson, Shanklin Co-operative store manager