Support for seriously ill children and their families

8th March 2017

Families with sick children regularly face long, draining journeys, often by public transport to attend hospital appointments, which can take full days, involve overnight stays and take one parent away from the rest of the family.

The Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which has a base in Kendal, supports families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness. The charity received £2,000 from Cumbria Fund to continue transporting families in Cumbria to hospital appointments, school, after school activities and on trips out.

The charity’s Family Support Workers provide a lifeline to the whole family including parents, carers, the unwell child, and their siblings. They relieve the pressure of organising transport, so the family arrives less stressed and better prepared emotionally. Families are also able to access respite care and have a day out away from the strains of their everyday life, where they can meet others going through similar experiences. Siblings are also transported to leisure activities and youth groups which provide peer support and help relieve anxiety.

David, from Barrow, lives with his mother, father and two brothers. David has a chronic heart condition and severe problems with his immune system which means that he can deteriorate quite rapidly, seemingly well when going to school in a morning and often needing to be admitted to Intensive Care by the afternoon.

The charity’s Family Support Worker often takes David and his brothers to school. After returning from a trip with the boys’ mother, Marie, she received a phone call from the school saying David was having an episode. The Family Support Worker drove Marie to the school, which is some distance away, so she could check how David was, which reassured her that on this occasion, he didn’t need to go to hospital.

Sharon Carter, Trusts and Foundations Manager said: “Cumbria is extremely rural with very little public transport. This funding has enabled children who are undergoing extensive treatments with complex health needs to avoid long journeys by public transport to hospital appointments or respite care, which are often a great distance from their home.

“We are fortunate to have a volunteer driver who is willing to drive families the long distance (250 mile round trip) to ensure that the sick child and parents have a comfortable and relaxing journey, therefore, reducing their anxiety and stress of the situation.”

For more information on the services provided by the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity visit: