A CHARITY which supports life-limited children, their families and those who have been bereaved has received recognition and grant funding from NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Glossop based Reuben's Retreat has continued to provide valuable support during the pandemic to help life-limited children, their families and those who have been bereaved, working with one, or multiple, members of a family.
Reuben's Retreat offer a range of support services and activities for children with a life-limiting or life-threatening illness, or disability; parents and siblings of children with a life-limiting illness or disability; parents and siblings of a bereaved child, such as counselling; support groups; activity and therapy days; short breaks and bereavement breaks.
They take referrals from individuals, and a range of health and social care professionals; as well as other charities. A family member's GP will be asked to make a referral to the Retreat in order to confirm the family's status, and to provide information on their needs, and any safeguarding risks.
The CCG took the opportunity to support the great work the charity does by awarding them a grant, using the Tameside and Glossop share of £25million from NHS England for children's palliative services. The money will support the charity to continue its work with the children, young people and families of Tameside and Glossop.
Harriet Pratt, Children and Young People's Champion at Reuben's Retreat, said: "My role is to support all of our Reuben's families whose children may face an uncertain future.
"We are really pleased and proud to say that since 'Stay Home Keep Safe' began, the whole team continued to work from home, without furloughing any staff. We were determined to continue our support and be there for our families when they needed us the most.
"Since 23 March, we have delivered 1,317 one to one support sessions totalling 355 hours; 236 group support sessions totalling 528 hours and we've delivered 403 'Happy Packages' containing gifts totalling 150 hours. We have also sent four families on a special break to make family memories. This support has been delivered to a minimum of 154 families, with 219 individuals being from Glossop and Tameside.
They normally run the Coffee Connect support group once a month at the Retreat which they increased to every Friday after noticing a need.
One of their Mum's said: "I think this may be the one thing that gets me through. Knowing that you all get it and understand is a real blessing."
Their Happy Package deliveries have meant the world to their families.
Mummy P said: "I received some of the most beautiful gifts in the post. I'm so in love with them, they mean everything to me and more.
"You are all so amazing and thoughtful. I feel extremely lucky to be supported by such a fantastic group of people. I have gone through two years of support and counselling. But nothing has felt like this. With you guys I feel calm, less anxious, I feel like my mental health is improving and most importantly I feel like I'm part of a family. Thank you for saving me and coming into my life when I needed you the most."
Not only has their support continued, but they have also introduced two new support groups. They have started their first 'Dad's Club' for bereaved Dads, an all-male support group ran by a male counsellor, James. They are also due to start 'Rest and Restore at Reuben's', a restorative online yoga class for both life limited and bereaved families.
Slowly but steadily, they are starting to invite families back to the Lodge in Glossop. They are working with their families to ensure they are moving at a pace that they are comfortable with.
Harriet continued: "Moving forward, some of our support groups will be returning to the Lodge- but we are going to continue to run a 'virtual version' of all of the groups, to ensure that those who aren't ready to venture out yet are still being 'held' during this tricky time.
"I would personally like to take this opportunity to say a huge 'Thank You' to NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG for playing an instrumental part in donating to Reuben's Retreat. As a relatively new member of staff, I am in awe every day of the difference this charity makes to people's lives. It is a real honour to be a part of such a fantastic charity, and I feel very privileged to be supporting some wonderful families across Glossop and Tameside."
Dr Christine Ahmed, GP and Starting Well Lead for NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG, said: "This is a fantastic example of the lengths staff at Reuben's Retreat have gone to in order to continue supporting our families, who are going through extremely personal difficult times, and at time when face to face sessions are no longer possible due to the pandemic.
"The work they do is truly inspirational, making sure everyone who needs their support is not forgotten."
To find out more about Reuben's Retreat visit https://www.reubensretreat.org/