A few weeks ago we held a ribbon cutting ceremony for our refurbished children’s playroom, Duncan’s Den. Since the hospice opened in 1991, the Den has been a place where children and teenagers can go when they need a quiet and comforting environment.

Over the last few months, Srinder Singh, our Head of Family Support Services, has worked hard to transform the room with toys, colouring books, and a special message tree where children can leave a message for the person who is ill.

Experiencing the illness and eventual loss of a close family member is hard for anyone, but perhaps more difficult for the children and teenagers who may struggle to understand and articulate their feelings. Usually it’s a parent who has to explain what has happened, at a time when they are grieving themselves, with the additional worry of how their child will cope.

The refurbishment of Duncan’s Den is part of the expansion of our Bereavement Service, which now supports children and teenagers when a family member is facing a life-limiting illness.

With more and more people diagnosed with such an illness every year, and people living longer with their illnesses, it is expected that almost four out of five children aged 11-16 will be bereaved at some point.

At Katharine House we want to ensure that those children and teenagers in our community are supported both before and after a family member dies, and the refurbished Duncan’s Den will be a valuable part of helping us to do that.

 Duncans Den

Grand opening (L-R): Dr Julia Bartley, Chief Executive Angharad Orchard, Founder President Neil Gadsby, Head of Family Support Services Srinder Singh, and Trustee Heather Stewart officially re-open Duncan's Den