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The ‘St B’s Schools Project’ is a pioneering scheme run by St Barnabas House which invites local schoolchildren to visit the hospice to learn about hospice care and explore issues such as life, death and bereavement.
The project enables schoolchildren aged 9-10 to explore concepts around life, death, dying and bereavement and introduces the children to hospice care in a safe and non-threatening environment.
Children from local schools visit the hospice once a week over a three week period and are paired with a patient who they get to know and partake in creative activities with.
They are encouraged to ask patients questions about their illnesses and experiences under the support and guidance of hospice staff.
The course includes a tour of the hospice and the children have the opportunity to meet staff from various different departments. Learning takes place via discussions, stories and creative exercises.
At the end of the three week project, children and patients enjoy a celebration, to which parents are invited, where they are presented with a certificate and goody bag to take home with them.
“The course has been hugely valuable in developing the children’s ideas around empathy, mortality and the elderly. Our children have come back with so many fantastic thoughts and ideas about the course.
“Children were able to talk about older members of their families who had died and were also able to talk comfortably about this to their parents.
“Two of our children do not have grandparents so have taken hugely from the experience of socialising with the elderly.”
“The fab team at St Barnabas pick up the children and a couple of staff in the minibus and take them to the hospice. They have a tour and get paired up with someone in the Day Hospice.
“They do activities together for three weeks and in the last week the parents can also come in and see what they have done. The hospice provides a workbook for the children and they learn about the hospice, acts of kindness, dignity, and much more.”
“I think that this is a fantastic project and a great opportunity for young children to learn and understand about hospice care.”
“My daughter has loved coming and meeting people here. It also helped her at a sad time as her grandad passed away suddenly over the summer.”
“I was initially apprehensive about my daughter participating in the project, but she has really enjoyed it, has learnt so much and had a great time meeting the people at St Barnabas.”
“I really enjoyed meeting new people. I also enjoyed the art and I also enjoyed on the first week meeting all the people who work here. I would adore to come back to the hospice.”
“I learnt that St Barnabas help people with life limiting illness, they make them feel safe. They help you by making you feel like you are at home.”
“They help the sick have the best time.”
“I didn’t want to leave.”