Peterborough families using children’s hospice in ‘urgent’ need of volunteers

Hannah Ganderton with her children Reuben, Iona and Joel
Hannah Ganderton with her children Reuben, Iona and Joel
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A children’s charity supporting Peterborough families say it is in “urgent” need of volunteers.

Each Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), which provides home support for families whose children have life-threatening conditions, recently added EACH Help at Home to its service. This is an initiative that sees families linked with a caring individual who can provide practical support with everyday tasks such as cleaning, ironing, gardening and playing with children.

However, a shortage of volunteers in the Peterborough area means families are waiting to receive that little bit of support that would make such a difference to their lives.

Agnes Toth, volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We’ve a number of families in the Peterborough area who’d really like help with cleaning, ironing, shopping and supporting children to do their homework.

“We know even a couple of hours of help a fortnight makes a huge difference to the families and lifts a little bit of weight off their shoulders. Unfortunately, though, we don’t have enough volunteers in Peterborough at the moment, so families are having to wait for this much-needed support.”

One of the first families to benefit from EACH Help at Home were the Gandertons from Peterborough.

Hannah and Michael’s five-year-old daughter, Iona, has an encephalocele. A rare congenital type of neural tube defect, it means part of the brain grows outside the head. As a result, Iona suffers from hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain, and epilepsy.

The care needs of Iona mean the family sometimes fall behind on simple, but essential, chores such as cooking, laundry, paperwork and washing up.

That situation greatly improved, though, after the family started receiving volunteer support.

Hannah said: “Our volunteer was brilliant. She helped us with anything from laundry to cleaning, from a bit of cooking to playing with the children. She was lovely and we got on really well. I really looked forward to Monday mornings when she’d visit.”

Anyone interested in supporting a family can find out more by getting in touch with Agnes on 07889 251385 or at agnes.toth@each.org.uk.