Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity announces funding for thirteen innovative projects to help make life better for seriously ill children
At a launch event in London, the charity showcased the new projects, which all intend to pioneer new ways to help whole families cope emotionally with the effects of having a child with a chronic illness or disability.
Families caring for a seriously ill child particularly need emotional resilience to deal with a range of feelings including anger, guilt, sadness and blame. This new programme will stimulate creative responses to the question of why some families are more resilient than others when faced with these feelings and with the challenges - and privileges - of caring for a child or young person with a serious long-term illness.
Richard Piper, CEO of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, said: “The desire to stimulate creativity and be inventive runs deep in our veins here at the charity and that’s why I’m so excited about our Family Resilience Programme. Roald Dahl’s stories are full of crazy inventions. Many worked, such as Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers, while some didn’t quite go to plan, such as George’s marvellous medicine which turned his grandma into a giant chicken! While Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity steers clear of made-up medicines, each one of our family resilience projects will create new learning about how to help families to thrive when faced with situations in which any of us would struggle.”
Some projects concentrate on a particular stage of the family's journey such as diagnosis, treatment or a life-changing event. For example, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children's Charity is working in partnership with Together for Short Lives to help terminally ill young people and their carers to have more open conversations about dying, death and bereavement.
Other projects are trying out new ways to reduce isolation and increase confidence, or focusing upon particular family members such as siblings and parents. For instance, the programme is supporting Sebastian’s Action Trust to employ a Dads' Support Worker who will work part-time on a one-to-one and group basis with dads who have a life-limited, seriously ill child.
At the launch workshop, special guest speaker Dr Kate Oulton, from the Centre for Outcomes and Experience Research in Children's Health, Illness and Disability (ORCHID) said: "Despite the challenges many families of seriously ill and disabled children face in their everyday life, some show a resounding ability to cope with their situation and adopt a positive outlook that can lead to personal transformation. This programme gives much-needed recognition to the fact that the lives of these families do not have to be dominated by stress and sorrow.”
Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity hopes that the emphasis of this two year programme on finding inventive and practical strategies will help contribute to the growing knowledge of which particular interventions work for different family members at specific times. The charity will champion the most promising new approaches to encourage them to be widely used by other people and organisations across charity, health and social care sectors, in order to help as many children and families as possible.