Why are we building The Ark

Our Building The Ark campaign is raising the funds to construct and run the children’s hospice building that North and Central London and Hertsmere needs.

Complementing our Hospice-at-Home and community-based services, a hospice building will allow us to offer a wider range of care to over 1,200 babies, children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions in our catchment areas.

The hospice will be built on a 7.5 acre nature reserve and will provide a space for relaxation and adventure and for children and their families to connect with others facing similar challenges. It will be a home-from-home for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, giving them the time and space to be children and not just patients.

“We are desperate for a local hospice building. For parents of a seriously ill child you never get the chance to recuperate. A local children’s hospice is not a luxury provision; it’s a necessity.”

Mother of child receiving Noah’s Ark’s care.

“End-of-life care and overnight stays are so vital to families like ours, but sadly Noah’s Ark wasn’t able to provide them for Ben. My hope is that the new hospice building will be there in time for Sophie.”

Rose, grandmother and guardian of Ben and Sophie

Family Story

This is the story of Sophie and her grandma and main carer Rose, living in North London, and Sophie’s brother Ben.

When Ben was only a couple of weeks old he began to have seizures. At seven months of age, the seizures increased so he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where they discovered serious brain damage.

During his short life Ben had very few skills. Besides his uncontrolled epilepsy, Ben had no speech, no fine finger movement, was unable to control gross motor skills, was unable to walk, had serious respiratory problems and was visually impaired. Ben required 24-hour care.

Ben died aged 17. His sister Sophie is now 11 years old and is displaying similar symptoms.

Looking to the future, Rose wants The Ark to be built in time for Sophie. Nothing existed for Ben. She explains: “We need to provide a comforting, dignified place for overnight stay and that final transition.”

Read Sophie, Rose and Ben’s full story here.

Why North and Central London needs a children’s hospice building

There are over 1,200 babies, children and young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions living in our area, but there is no children’s hospice building in North or Central London for them.

Through the specialised and supportive setting of a children’s hospice building, The Ark will offer a range of children’s palliative care services that are not currently available including:

  • Sensory, music and wet play rooms.
  • Sensory gardens and surroundings.
  • A drop-in facility for families to come anytime and meet, have coffee, relax and use the dedicated facilities, equipment, toys and gardens.
  • Hosting Noah’s Ark Children’s Groups, Family Activity Days, Sibling Activities, Parent Groups, Bereaved Parent Groups and bereavement counselling in the beautiful hospice setting and grounds.
  • Overnight stays for children and families to enable earlier discharge from hospital and preparation for care at home, to help manage a child or young person’s symptoms throughout their illness, or for end-of-life care, including specialist care for babies.
  • More community short breaks: We already provide short breaks [respite] in the home and community. So that we can continue the home-based short breaks [respite] to as many children as possible, we do not currently plan to provide regular residential short breaks [respite] in The Ark.
  • Care after death, including 24-hour family access to their child’s body in dedicated Bereavement Suites.

“We need to provide a comforting, familiar and dignified place for overnight stay and that final transition. If you are able to help, you will have the immeasurable gratitude of so very many children and families.”
Rose, grandmother and guardian of Ben and Sophie

Ways to get involved