Local children’s hospice proves we are in this together, but also Together Apart

Joe Stilgoe

While many people are looking for ways to stay busy and connect with loved ones and colleagues as they’re staying home. Others are still going out to work on the frontline throughout the coronavirus outbreak. This includes Chestnut Tree House’s dedicated care team.

Despite being closed for respite breaks and day visits, the children’s hospice is still providing care for exceptional circumstances, end-of-life care and bereavement support. While the team continues to support local children and families, some of their nurses will be going to work in the NHS to support increased demand during the coronavirus outbreak.

As a charity with very limited funding from central government, Chestnut Tree House has always relied heavily on the support of the local community. Now the children’s hospice is hoping to spread some positivity and keep the local community cheery and connected, while the team continues to care for families and offer support to the NHS.

Whether delivering food parcels to neighbours, taking part in online work-outs, having a digital morning coffee with colleagues, or binge-watching the latest TV series via Skype, many families and friends are now #TogetherApart – a hashtag being used by Chestnut Tree House across social media to inspire and connect people during this difficult time. And they have received waves of support, from local yoga instructors, kids who are unable to attend school, and even singer-songwriter Joe Stilgoe.

When Joe’s shows were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, he didn’t want to let down his fans, so decided to perform online concerts from his garden shed in Hove. He interacts with his followers on social media, allowing them to direct the set list. On Friday 27 March 2020, Joe, who is an Ambassador of Chestnut Tree House, dedicated his 30-minute live music show to the charity. The online community were treated to a joyful, musical interlude which people enjoyed Together even though they were Apart.

Joe took requests from Chestnut Tree House supporters in advance, and performed a variety of feel-good tunes, including The Beatles’ classic ‘Here Comes the Sun’, ‘When the going gets tough’, ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, ‘Smile’ by Nat King Cole, one of his own songs ‘Popcorn’, and even a medley of songs from The Jungle Book. He also took the time to talk about the charity and what it means to local families, inspiring several kind members of his online audience to make donations.

“In uncertain times like these, it is heart-warming to see people pulling together,” Cathy Stone, Clinical Director at Chestnut Tree House said. “From delivering food to neighbours to having virtual catch-ups online, small acts of kindness are showing the real strength of our community.

“Our hospice shops are now closed, most of our fundraising activities have ceased for the time being and events have all been postponed. This is a difficult time for everyone, but we couldn’t do this without our wonderful supporters. If you are able to consider supporting us with a donation at this time it would be greatly appreciated. Your help enables us to continue providing the care that is so vitally important to the families we work with. Thank you.”  

To get involved with #TogetherApart and find out more about your local children’s hospice, search for ‘Chestnut Tree House’ in your preferred social media channel or visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk. You can watch Joe Stilgoe’s ‘Stilgoe in the Shed’ Chestnut Tree House special here.

The situation concerning Covid-19 is changing all the time. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/covid-19.

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