On 6 December, The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Shooting Star House Children’s Hospice, Hampton, Middlessex where she will visit the facilities, sit in on a music therapy session, meet with a group of volunteers and join with several of the children and their families for tea.
An ardent supporter of children’s hospices and palliative care, The Duchess on this visit will be afforded a chance to increase her awareness of the work in this area, as well as meet some of the volunteers who work in the field.
A leader in children’s hospice charity, Shooting Star CHASE cares for 650 children and young people who are battling life-threatening conditions as well as providing assistance to their families. The hospice is available year round and is free. “The charity is committed to caring for families from diagnosis to bereavement and beyond. It aims to make every moment of each life count whether lives are measured in days, weeks, months or years. It shares in the good times and helps families through the tough times with a range of medical, practical and emotional support,” Kensington Palace commented.
Since 2011, Catherine has focused on creating a larger awareness of hospice programmes. In her first public speech in March 2012, Catherine emphasised how many, including herself might have pre-conceived notions about children’s hospice care:
“Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home. Most importantly, it was a family home, a happy place of stability, support and care. It was a place of fun. For many, this is a home from home – a lifeline, enabling families to live as normally as possible during a very precious period of time,” The Duchess said.
Shooting Star CHASE has over 650 volunteers that assist the organisation in hospices as well as its support office and shops. Along with Shooting Star, a second hospice Christopher’s Children’s Hospice in Artington, Guildford is available to children and families.
In 1995 The Shooting Star Trust was founded by Kathryn Turner MBE. After seven years of fundraising, the Shooting Star House began construction in January 2003 and was complete in 2005, welcoming its first family in August of that year.
In February 2006, the hospice was officially opened by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.