Noah’s Ark receives a 3-year grant from BBC Children in Need to part fund our Specialist Care Team. This year the BBC Children in Need Appeal Night featured a film that followed a day in the life of Jules, one of our amazing Specialist Carers. Our nurse-trained Specialist Carers visit family homes, providing care alongside fun and stimulating play activities. Read Jules’ take on what it was like to star in a Children in Need film and why he loves working for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.
“I had mixed emotions when BBC Children in Need decided to focus their film on my work as a Specialist Carer. Obviously, I was really proud. It’s great for us to be recognised for our work and, after watching the film, maybe my friends will finally understand what I do every day! On the other hand, I was slightly embarrassed that the spotlight would be on me and not the wider Care Team. I’m just one of a close-knit team of Specialist Carers who all work really hard.
“I was filmed working with three of our families over two days. Other than being trailed by a film crew, they were fairly typical days. Though the fact is, when you’re working with children, no two days are ever the same! That’s just one of the things I love about my job. I used to be an Account Director for a data consultancy but had always wanted to work with children. I was a Home Support volunteer with Noah’s Ark for two years before I quit my job in the City and retrained as a Specialist Carer. The best decision I ever made!
“It takes a certain kind of person to do the work we do. We have different styles but we all come to work every day with a smile. The worst days are when a child’s condition deteriorates and they become really poorly, especially when they are in intensive care. That’s a challenge. It’s impossible not to feel emotional at those times but we have to stay professional and, even though some days we feel like crying, stay focused on the family’s needs.
“The best part of my job is the children. They are so special. I also like the responsibility that comes with being a Specialist Carer – that can be clinical responsibility, such as looking after a child with a tracheostomy, through to the relationships we build with the whole family, including brothers and sisters. But, other than what I need to know from a clinical standpoint, I avoid fixating on the child’s diagnosis. I prefer to get to know them rather than put the illness first.
“I’m so privileged to be a part of their lives and not a day goes by when I’m not in awe of the families. Their energy and positivity is the most inspiring thing in the world. By letting me into their homes, they open the door to a situation that most people never see or have to live. I’ve learnt a lot about grief and about how people could – and should – deal with others. It puts the little problems into perspective.
“Hopefully if you’ve watched the film you’ll understand a little of what the families go through every day and just how incredible they are. But the film only features three of the families we support. We know that in our catchment area there are more than 1,200 children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions who need our help. That’s why we’re building The Ark, the first children’s hospice building in North and Central London.
“I know what a difference The Ark will make to our families. It will be a home-from-home where they can come to be part of a community that understands and supports them. It will be a place for the children to have fun and relax. And, if and when they need it, The Ark will give families a choice when it comes to managing end-of-life care, somewhere close to home with support from carers who they already know and trust.”
If you’ve been moved or inspired by seeing some of the families we support and the work we do at Noah’s Ark, please donate to our Give an Hour Appeal and help us build The Ark.