Last week, I had the privilege of visiting Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice in Barnet, a sanctuary of love and support for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The visit was not just enlightening but also deeply personal, as it brought me face-to-face with a past connection that had a profound impact on my own family.
The purpose of my visit was simple: I wanted to donate some of my books, hoping they might provide a measure of comfort to grieving families. What I didn’t expect was the profound impact the hospice and its dedicated team would have on me.
Hayley Manley, the Director of Care at Noah’s Ark, graciously showed me around the facility. The hospice is a haven, a place of tranquillity and warmth, where children and their families can find solace amidst the turmoil of their circumstances. The environment is not just comforting but also beautiful, a testament to the thought and care that goes into every aspect of the hospice’s operation.
Inside The Ark: A Sanctuary of Love and Support
The Ark, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice’s facility, is a haven of comfort and engagement. It features family suites with well-equipped kitchens in the Meadows Wing, and children’s bedrooms with sensory baths in the Woodlands Wing.
The Ark also houses a variety of activity rooms, including a sensory room, a soft play room, a creative room, and a music room, each designed to cater to the unique needs and interests of the children.
Outside, a wheelchair-accessible sensory trail winds around a 7.5-acre nature reserve, and an accessible playground and sensory garden offer additional spaces for play and relaxation.
The Ark also provides bereavement suites, offering a comforting space for families during their most challenging times.
In essence, The Ark is a testament to Noah’s Ark’s commitment to improving the quality of life for the children and families they serve. It’s more than a facility; it’s a sanctuary of love, care, and support.
The support Noah’s Ark offers extends beyond the children in their care. They provide holistic support to the entire family, understanding that illness affects everyone involved. Their bereavement team, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, works tirelessly to provide emotional support and guidance to families navigating the difficult path of loss.
As my visit was drawing to a close, Hayley introduced me to Alex Amzallag, a social worker and parent liaison at the hospice. The moment I saw her, I couldn’t help but scream in surprise and delight!
Alex was the same compassionate soul who had worked with my daughter, Sophie, 21 years ago when we were grappling with the loss of my husband. Seeing her again, in this place of love and support, was a poignant reminder of the enduring impact of kindness.
Making a difference in the darkest of times
Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is more than just a hospice; it’s a beacon of hope, a pillar of support, and a testament to the power of compassion. Their mission is to ensure that seriously unwell children and their families have access to expert and compassionate palliative care. They believe, as do I, that it is the duty of a caring society to provide this support.
Over the years, Noah’s Ark has been on an upward trajectory, constantly evolving and expanding their services to reach more children and families in need. Their focus remains steadfast: improving the quality of life—and death—for the children and families they support. They call this ‘making the most of every day,’ a philosophy that resonates deeply with me.
Their three-year strategy outlines their organisational objectives, guiding them towards a sustainable future. Because the truth is, there will always be children who need their support. To achieve this, they need the whole Noah’s Ark community—and indeed, all of us—to rally together.
Why should we support the work they do? Because every child deserves to live their life to the fullest, regardless of their circumstances. Because every family deserves support when navigating the unimaginable. Because in our darkest hours, we all need a beacon of hope.
Supporting Noah’s Ark is not just about donating money—it’s about investing in a future where every child with a life-limiting illness and their family has access to the care they need. It’s about standing up for a world where compassion, love, and support are available to all who need it.
I urge you to join me in supporting Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. Whether it’s through donations, volunteering, or simply spreading the word about their incredible work, every little bit helps. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these children and their families, helping them make the most of every day.
Remember, it’s not just about making a donation; it’s about making a difference. And that difference can start with you.
My visit to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice was a journey of discovery and reconnection. I went in with the intention of offering comfort, but I came out deeply moved by the incredible work they do and the compassionate care they provide. It’s a beautiful place, not just in its physical setting, but in the love, support, and understanding it offers to those in their most challenging times.