‘Tis the season of giving. Here at Happy Beds, we decided to get started on this at the end of November with Giving Tuesday. Though, there are myriad of magnificent and worthy causes we decided that the good folk at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice deserve our support the most.

After raising money from our Giving Tuesday campaign, we were contacted by Julie, who invited us to visit the hospice and see exactly how the donations would be used.

And so, earlier this week, we of the Happy Beds marketing team accepted this delightful invitation to go and see how wonderful Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice was for ourselves.


All About Bluebell Wood and Our Visit

Located just outside of Sheffield, we found ourselves in a fairly secluded area that hid the impressive hospice. After signing in (and falling in love with their on-site dog, George) we were met by Julie with smiles all round.

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As we were taken around the hospice Julie shared something with us, saying that she “wished we could take the word ‘hospice’ out of the name”, as it often conjures images considerably less bright than the actual hospice represented.

She told us that many families often recoil from the word, fearing that the environment they’ll find won’t exactly be a bastion of positivity; yet it was exactly that that we found when visiting.

Every member of staff, from the leagues of volunteers giving their time to the dedicated teams on hand, met us with a wide smile and well wishes as they set about their average everyday tasks.

The volunteers, who frequently assist with the housekeeping and are solely responsible for caring for the gardens and even help with fundamental tasks such as laying concrete for building’s foundations, were busy decorating and rearranging one of the main common areas into a feasting hall for the annual Christmas dinner as we tried to give them plenty of room to do their thing.

And they were doing their thing incredibly well; this common area was filled with the aroma of tantalising turkey and scrumptious stuffing, while an entire grotto’s worth of Christmas decorations made the usually energetic and welcoming play area a winter wonderland.

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While we took in the sights and marvelled at the excellent job these kind-hearted helpers were doing, Julie led us outside to see the subtle majesty of the gardens. Each of us Happy Beds marketers were left in awe with the care that had gone into making this outside space not only utterly enchanting, but exceptionally accessible to any and all children.

We saw for ourselves how the swings were designed for even children in wheelchairs to have fun, how the safety-ensured wooden bridges featured pressure sensitive panels to light up and sing songs and heard tales of a secret garden for the bereaved families to take the time to reflect on their lost loved ones. Out of respect we didn’t view the latter but, judging from the time and attention that had gone into the rest of the gardens, we couldn’t picture them as anything other than tranquil.

As if this oasis wasn’t enough, Julie continued to explain the good that Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice did. As we were stood by the door, she directed our attention first to our right, and then our left, where we could see eight terraces on each side. These each led into their own individual apartments, each of which were designated for any children with needs so special that they required staying overnight, as well as separate apartments for families to stay.

These were no simple cot bed set ups either, but fully furnished apartments with comfortable beds and ensuite capabilities.

We were astounded by the quality of life these afforded families, no matter how complex their children’s needs. This level of cosiness and homeliness was mirrored in one of the hospice’s previous guests, a man named Harry who had stayed with his daughter Georgia and their family. He explained:

"After our first visit, we knew this was a place that we would much rather be than a hospital. Georgia would always ask if she could stay at Bluebell Wood. Everyone from the Chief Executive to the cooks, cleaners and gardeners at Bluebell Wood were all exceptional, professional, kind and caring; we classed the hospice as one big happy family. To us and our family, Bluebell Wood was a place that we could relax, have fun and live as you would at home.”

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Hearing this, along with so many other similar testimonies, really hit us hard. We’d known that Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice was a worthy cause, but visiting the team and hearing how much they all helped brought up a lot of feelings.

Alas, we still had plenty more to see and people to meet, so we went back inside as Julie introduced us to just a few of the happy, helpful and handy helpers. Gathered around a table were a group of wonderful ladies at work carving out shapes from what looked like rubber.

Notably bemused, we were informed that they were carefully crafting replicas of the hands of children who had sadly passed, as a totem of sorts for their parents to keep; should they ask for them of course.

“They’re not for everyone,” we were told, perhaps after seeing a flicker of confusion spread across a face or two, “but we do what we can to help every member of the family.”

“We’re not the only ones who do arts and crafts though!” Another informed us. “This room is used for any kids who want to get a little creative. It doesn’t matter how much help they need; we’ll do our very best to help. Just the other day a child came in who couldn’t hold a brush, but we didn’t stop trying until we found a way for them to paint.”

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This assistance and inclusion was clear from the various pieces of artwork found dotted around the room, and found across the halls around the entire hospice, showcasing the craftsmanship of children of all ages.

These activities weren’t exclusive for children with special needs though, as we were frequently shown the artwork and crafts made by the children’s siblings. That was another key point about Bluebell Wood that Julie felt needed clarifying; the children may need the most help, and parents may feel lost, but the rest of the family are experiencing their own journeys too.

As well as providing a productive outlet for the siblings of the children who visit Bluebell Wood, there’s also all manners of counselling, group therapy and other helpful services for every member of the family; including the grandparents.

No one is left behind at Bluebell Wood, a fact that was honestly somewhat of a revelation to me. After all, I had been one of those who had viewed terms like a ‘hospice’ and ‘end of life care’ in a rather gloomy light, and yet Bluebell Wood proved time and time again that this wasn’t always the case.

The services provided weren’t the only incredible ways Bluebell Wood help. The hospice is complete with an amazing array of specialised rooms featuring impressive tech such as a cinema room and a spa. Then there are the times that these two elements culminate to grant unique and spellbinding wishes.

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One particularly incredible example is when young William and his family visited Bluebell Wood. Sadly, he had been born with a condition that meant his heart was not developing properly, and thus was fated to leave his new family soon after he was born.

William’s parents brought him to Bluebell Wood the day after he was born and spent the precious 13 days of his life in the loving care of his parents and the Bluebell Wood family. As his parents had always wished to visit the beach with their son, the team made a mini beach in the safety of the hospice for the family to visit, and even threw him a birthday party during his time there.

“When he was a week old, we had a birthday party with cake, presents, jelly and ice cream and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him. Family were always welcome and our mums visited every day. We could see Angie, the counsellor, whenever we needed to and someone was always there to have a cup of tea, a char or a good cry with. Bluebell Wood was our home for nearly a month and our son’s only home. We can never thank them enough for everything they did, and still do.”

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After seeing as much of the hospice as we could (and giving George plenty of farewell pets) we thanked Julie and the rest of the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice team for having us. Leaving our donation, gifts and well-wishes with these wonderful people, we left the hospice.

Although our visit had been short, it really had impacted each of us. Confident in knowing that we were helping to support such an incredible cause, we left Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice looking forward to the next big way we can help.


Show Your Support

Sadly, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice receives less than 10% of their funding from the government, so they really do appreciate anything people can donate.

If you’d like to help them by donating to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, then you can give what you can here. Any amount helps and they do such incredible work, not just for the children who need their care but for every member of the family.