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Make a difference this Christmas to families in need

For many of us Christmas is a special time of year, and it is about making precious memories with our loved ones. However, for families who have lost, or are facing the loss of, a child, this can be a really difficult time. 

The generosity of your company will help provide vital family and bereavement support this Christmas to families like Mike’s. Mike was father to Ben and Ollie who were both cared for by Helen & Douglas House.

If you work for a local company and want to help a local charity this Christmas, making a donation to the Helen & Douglas House Corporate Christmas appeal could make a big difference to local families.

Meet Lila, our Family Support and Bereavement worker

Our family support and bereavement team offer one-to-one and group support to parents facing the death of their child. Our FSBV teamwork with the children and their families, including siblings, to help break down the feelings of isolation and loneliness and to help them through their grief.

Lilla Machnio said ‘I help families with both the personal and practical side of their grief. After losing a child, I’ll help a family register the death through the official channels and then offer them tailored bereavement support, both individually and through support groups. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to help families and to be part of a diverse team for over 10 years now’.

Meet Mike, Ben and Ollie’s father

When Ben and Ollie were three-and-a-half years old they were diagnosed with Sanfilippo Disease, a life shortening condition. There is no cure for this disease and the boys lost all their abilities, such as speech, walking, eating and being able to do all the normal things that you take for granted that your child will do as they grow up.  Sadly, Ben passed away in 2012 and Ollie in 2014 just before his 10th birthday.

Mike Illingworth said ‘’The support we received from Helen & Douglas House was beyond any words and they have been so supportive in helping with our grief from the loss of Ben and Ollie, helping us to pick ourselves up and try to get on with our lives. We are so fortunate to have this fantastic hospice on our doorstep as life would have been that much harder without them.’ 

Shahzaadee Adam, from Helen & Douglas House said ‘If you donate £102, which will fund one team member of the Family Support and Bereavement (FSBV) team or, donate £308 and you’ll be funding the whole team for the day.

‘You could, of course, choose to give your own amount. Each year we support around 100 families through this essential service, and we rely on donations from people like you to make this possible. It has been a tough 18 months for everyone but particularly our bereaved families who continue to rely on our support.’

Your gift will provide much-needed support to grieving families this Christmas. You can donate online or alternatively, please contact Shahz and we can send you the Helen & Douglas House bank details.

When making your donation through our website on the donation page, please add your ‘reason for donation’ as ‘Corporate Christmas’.




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We also provide comment for local and regional newspapers, radio or TV stations and websites.

If you would like a comment from the Chamber or a business in our region please contact our Press Office on 01753 870513

Sarah Irving

Head of Marketing & Communications

Direct dial: 01753 870500

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