Gloucestershire charity becomes PPE lifeline for families with seriously ill children across the UK
Cheltenham-based children’s charity WellChild has sourced almost a quarter of a million items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for families caring at home for seriously ill children, with more than 150,000 already sent to families in need across the UK.
The charity, which support families caring for children and young people with serious health needs, had to quickly adapt its services when the Coronavirus outbreak began to take hold. After setting up the WellChild COVID-19 Direct Response Service they have successfully dealt with more than 800 individual requests for help sourcing PPE, food, medicines, and supplies.
Many of the families supported by WellChild are delivering round the clock medical care to their children and are totally reliant on external carers coming into their home. Many have been shielding since the start of the crisis and have struggled to access the PPE they need to let carers safely into their home. This has forced many to have vital care stopped, leaving families to deliver complex medical procedures and 24/7 care regimes on their own. As the rest of society begins to ease out of lockdown, many of these families will remain in isolation for the foreseeable future.
So far WellChild has sent out items of PPE including 118,100 surgical gloves, 20,375 surgical masks, 1,441 bottles of hand sanitiser, 334 sets of scrubs and more, with tens of thousands more items ready to be shipped out.
Julie Ridgeley, who cares for her 16-year-old daughter Lia said: “Lia has Cerebral Palsy with Epilepsy and needs oxygen on a regular basis. She needs round the clock care and is very vulnerable. Lia has care from a nurse once a week who we pay through personal independent payments and we do not have PPE for her. The NHS has not supplied PPE for Lia’s nurse, as she is a private carer. Without the PPE WellChild has provided Lia may not have been able to receive care from her nurse.”
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild said: “It is a proud moment for everyone at WellChild. These are challenging times for everyone, but especially the families that WellChild supports. We had to quickly respond to a sudden and very urgent need from families across the country, who are more hidden and isolated than ever before. Without PPE, they simply cannot get the vital support they need. This has left many families forced to cope alone, placing them at very serious risk of burnout, the consequences of which could be catastrophic for them and their children. To have reached this important milestone at a time when our organisation is expecting to lose 60% of income this year is testament to the hard work, determination, and commitment of everyone at WellChild over the last few months.
We thank all the individuals and companies who have supported our effort. We have more requests for help coming in every day, but our stocks are finite, and resources stretched. For the families we support the challenges of COVID-19 are far from over. The more help we can get, the more we can bring these families safely through this unprecedented crisis.”
Families caring for children with serious health needs can request PPE from the WellChild COVID-19 Response Team at https://www.wellchild.org.uk/coronavirus/direct-response/
To support WellChild’s work to help families through this crisis, please contact the charity, or donate via the website at www.wellchild.org.uk.