We are all looking forward to summer this year. After many months of National Lockdown, not being able to see anyone outside of our bubble, we are all ready for a summer with friends and family. But for many families who rely on Richard House, this can’t happen - they may have to continue to shield and protect their child.

We are asking for your help to enable us to provide essential emotional support to our families, so that they too can start to enjoy life again.

The pandemic has been difficult for them all, with services placed on hold or moved online, but as we all know, it just isn’t the same as having a chat face-to-face. Many parents rely on these services as an opportunity for their child to socialise, but also for the opportunity to talk to other parents who understand and just get the difficulties involved with a child who has a life-limited illness or condition.

One of the mums who relies on the services Richard House provides is Natasha who cares for daughter Aliyah, 3. Aliyah’s condition is currently undiagnosed, which means Natasha doesn’t know what the future holds for her daughter.

Natasha describes what her life is like with Aliyah:

My days are full of caring for Aliyah and her complex needs. She can’t walk or talk and needs specialised care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Aliyah hasn’t yet been diagnosed but her condition shows similar characteristics to Cerebral Palsy.

To help Aliyah thrive and stay as well as possible, we need to make sure she spends a certain amount of time in different positions; such as her chair, standing frame or tummy time, quite full-on really.

One of our most well known services is our respite care which gives families the opportunity to rest and recuperate. But we also offer many other services which give emotional and practical support, which particularly this year, are so important.

The pandemic has meant many of these programmes were put on hold but we hope this summer will mean some of these get to restart and allow families that opportunity to breathe.

Natasha explains why Richard House is so important to her and Aliyah:

Richard House provides parents like us a rest, which without Richard House I wouldn’t get. They provide staff who can mimic exactly what we do and provide the same level of care I give.

They also provide us the opportunity to interact with other parents, who know exactly what each other are going through. It allows us to expand our support system.

Over the past year, we haven’t been able to get that same level of interaction and has meant many of us have become very isolated.

These words are echoed by so many of the parents and care givers who are supported through Richard House but truthfully so many of them felt this way before the pandemic ever began and months of isolation has left many struggling to cope. This is why it is so essential we restart our services and we hope you will consider a gift today.