EACH needs volunteers to do household chores for Suffolk and Essex families with ill children

The Morley family. Picture: Holbrook Studios

The Morley family. Picture: Holbrook Studios - Credit: Holbrook Studios

Volunteers are needed to help lighten the load for families looking after a child with complex needs or a serious illness.

Sarah Davey. Picture: EACH

Sarah Davey. Picture: EACH - Credit: EACH

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has launched a new service to support time-constraining families across Suffolk and north Essex with the odd jobs in their homes, such as gardening or washing up.

Among those to have benefited from the Help at Home scheme so far are Sam and Mike Morley, who live in Ipswich with their children Cerys, 14, Rosanna, 12, and Euan, nine.

They are visited by Sarah Davey, who spends two hours with the family every Monday.

Euan was diagnosed with a rare degenerative and life-threatening neurological condition in December 2013 and he uses The Treehouse, EACH’s hospice in Ipswich.

The Maude family. Picture: EACH

The Maude family. Picture: EACH - Credit: EACH

Sam said: “Having the time and energy to be together as a family is really important, but there are always so many things to get done as well as the day-to-day care needs of our son.

“Having a family volunteer to help keep on top of the housework frees up some of our time, which we can use to make precious memories.”

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Sarah, 38 and from Ipswich, helps the Morleys in between studying on a health and social care course.

Also making use of the service are Karen and Justin Maude, who live in Colchester with their two sons and seven-year-old Cara. They receive weekly visits of two-and-a-half to three hours from Clare Kendrick Robinson.

Clare Kendrick Robinson, left, with Karen Maude. Picture: EACH

Clare Kendrick Robinson, left, with Karen Maude. Picture: EACH - Credit: EACH

Cara has a rare metabolic condition that means she can’t break down fat and having too much in her diet would be poisonous for her.

Since August 2015 she has been an inpatient at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where she has had her pancreas removed due to chronic pancreatitis. She is currently recovering after a secondary operation and working towards returning home in March.

Karen said: “I spend most of the week in London looking after my daughter. Knowing that someone will come in weekly to clean for a few hours takes one worry away and allows me more time to focus on my other children when I get home.”

She added: “The service provides a lifeline for our family and we are very grateful to Clare and EACH.”

Clare, 62 and from Wivenhoe, was an education professional working with children with additional needs until she retired two years ago.

She said: “I get so much pleasure driving away after each visit knowing how much of a difference it makes to the mother that she doesn’t any longer have to worry about getting the house cleaned.”

Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer should contact 01473 271334 or hugh.fenton-anwyll@each.org.uk.