The Acorn Project is a healthy approach to long-term illness and palliative care. It brings children and patients together in a safe, supported and happy environment to raise awareness and understanding of long-term illness, end-of-life care and issues around death and dying.
All of these topics are an important part of the national curriculum. These are challenging subjects that many schools and colleges find difficult to teach. With this in mind, Oakhaven Hospice has been exploring ways to address important topics surrounding long-term illness with local children and young adults. It has proved to be extremely enjoyable and effective for everyone involved.
Inspired by a similar model at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, our Acorn project began in 2010. Its aim has been to create links between the Hospice and local schools in-keeping with the National End of Life Care Strategy, which promotes a good understanding of palliative care by encouraging thought and discussion around the subject of death and dying.
It also looks at the ways in which society views death and dying and how that can contribute to the experiences of people receiving end-of-life care, as well as to the experiences of their carers.
The Acorn project offers an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Hospice through the eyes of children. It also works extremely well in giving patients and carers space to talk about their very personal experiences. Many of the children involved may have been touched by a family member who has a life-threatening illness or who has died and the Acorn approach has helped immensely in breaking down the barriers around death and dying.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Acorn Project please contact Jane Askham at email@example.com
This is the most heart-warming and rewarding project we have been involved in. From the outset, the level of care and compassion, openness and honesty is second to none. Jane is amazing. Her energy is extraordinary and makes the whole project an emotionally safe experience for all. Not that you would be able to tell, we brought a quite complex group of children each with their own challenges. They have all thrived and I have seen them all gain confidence as the weeks have gone by. Just wonderful.
Every member of the team has been perfectly chosen. They are all real experts at lifting the mood and drawing out even the quietest of children. Who would have thought I would describe a hospice as ‘my happy place’.
The projects chosen have been really accessible for children of all abilities. I particularly like that the children are involved in something that will stay here in one of the counselling rooms. That feels really meaningful and leaves a wonderful connection between our two organisations. The children will be proud to know that their work has brightened the day of someone in distress.
The final day is a great idea and we are so pleased that the parents can join this session. This cannot be easy to accommodate so thank you for going the extra mile with this. The memory boxes were a brilliant idea! I learnt loads about the children and it was so lovely to hear them share their stories.
All in all, I cannot recommend the project highly enough. Jane has an extraordinary gift and hits just the right tone at every session.
Thank you all for being a truly special group of people doing truly special and extraordinary work.