Charities hoping to secure partnership with supermarket chain

Sophia, from Blyth, enjoying a surfing lesson thanks to St Oswald’s Children’s Service.Sophia, from Blyth, enjoying a surfing lesson thanks to St Oswald’s Children’s Service.
Sophia, from Blyth, enjoying a surfing lesson thanks to St Oswald’s Children’s Service.
A Blyth mum has opened up on the lifeline she receives from a charity which is up for more support.

Megan Killington takes her six-year-old daughter Sophia to St Oswald’s Children’s Service for regular short breaks.

She says the hospice has been a lifeline for their family for the three-and-a-half years Sophia has attended, with her daughter enjoying a summer of fun and adventure during her stay this year.

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Megan said: “Thanks to St Oswald’s Hospice we have experienced things together this summer I honestly never thought were possible. I can’t imagine our life without the support we receive from them.

“Hospice staff contacted me, asking if during Sophia’s respite visit they could take her surfing and my instant reaction was surely not, that’s not possible?

"She’s nil by mouth which means no food or liquid can go into her mouth so this just sounded impossible. I was blown away at how thought through everything was.

"I was crying tears of joy seeing her face so excited, she was laughing like I’ve never seen her laugh before and I learnt that she was actually such a thrill-seeker.

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"Precious memories were made this summer to treasure forever, thanks to the hospice”

Now Together for Short Lives, which supports the UK’s 54 children’s hospices including St Oswald’s in Newcastle, is one of two to be shortlisted for Morrisons charity of the year.

Staff at Morrisons stores across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear are voting until October 27 for their favourite, with the winning charity entering a three-year partnership aiming to raise around £10million.

Steph Edusei, chief executive at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “A partnership with Morrisons, and the money raised, would be transformational for our local families caring for a seriously ill child and for us at St Oswald’s Hospice.”

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St Oswald’s Hospice provides lifeline support to families coping with the difficulties associated with caring for a child with a life-limiting condition.

Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives, said: “Families of seriously ill children are pushed to their limits every day.

"Their local children’s hospice provides them with the time and space they need to make precious memories that last a lifetime – the chance to be parents, not carers.

"A partnership with Morrisons will make good things happen – enabling hospices to provide lifeline support to even more families who need them right in the heart of our community.”

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The other charity shortlisted is Action for Children, which has children’s centres in Ashington, Bedlington and Newbiggin.

Locks Farmer, Director of fundraising and marketing at Action for Children, said: “At least 4.3 million children are living in poverty in the UK.

"Every day, we see children and young people sleeping on the floor of cold rooms, feeling hungry because they haven’t had enough to eat or going without proper shoes.

“This cannot be right, but we can do something about it.

"We will launch The Morrisons Fund to help children who urgently need our support. We will ensure children have everything they need to not just survive, but thrive.

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“A partnership with Morrisons would be huge for vital local services, like Ashington Children’s Centre.

"As demand for our services rise, and funding increasingly short, this partnership would allow us to continue supporting children in your hometown.”

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