In Coronavirus Funding Impact Stories, Funding Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety

Project: The #SATstillworking project is bringing emergency provisions to families of seriously ill children during the coronavirus outbreak
Grant: £5,000
Fund: NET Coronavirus Appeal (more info)

Founded in 2004, Sebastian’s Action Trust is a charity providing emotional, social and practical support for life-limited and life-threatened children and their families. The charity was the last wish Sebastian Gates, the founder of Sebastian’s Action Trust, who passed away from a rare form of childhood cancer at the age of nine.

Sebastian wanted to reach beyond the limitations of his own lifetime and illness to help others. His wish was to create a special place where families facing enormous challenges could come together for memory making, rest and relaxation. 17 years on, his vision continues to be a lifeline for seriously ill children and their families. Sebastian’s Action Trust offers families the opportunity to spend quality time together and provides enduring bereavement care and support, ensuring that loss and grief is not experienced alone.

With their £5,000 grant from the NET Coronavirus Appeal, the team behind Sebastian’s Action Trust have purchased, packed and delivered emergency food supplies and activity packs to families in Buckinghamshire. So far, emergency food parcels have been delivered to 16 families and activity packs have been received by 27 seriously-ill children and their siblings.

“Thank you for another lovely package; our family would be lost without your continued support” (Parent)

“Thank you for this much-needed delivery – unsung heroes all of you” (Parent)

This funding is also being used to help provide online support to families at this time. With the Trust’s two respite and outreach centres (The Bluebells and The Woodlands) temporarily closed, they have had to adapt the way they provide their vital support. 45 families (167 individuals) in Buckinghamshire now have remote access to a range of services as and when they need it, ensuring support is still available at a time when physical contact is not.

The Trust will continue providing weekly food supplies, monthly deliveries of activity bags and online support for the foreseeable future, as while lockdown is gradually easing for the majority of us, it is not the same case for families whose children are seriously ill and have compromised immune systems. With potentially many more months of isolation ahead of them, it’s important that these families receive the help and emotional support they need to see them through this unprecedented time.

“Thank you so much Claire and the team at Sebastian’s Action Trust… almost made me cry with happiness! You guys are the best!” (Parent)

“From the onset of lockdown, the families we support have lived in enforced isolation, shielding their immunocompromised children from Covid-19”, shares Jane Westley, Trusts and Foundations Manager. “Recognising the concerns around families being able to access vital supplies, Sebastian’s Action Trust has helped to reduce pressure on emergency healthcare providers and the NHS by becoming lifelines to every day essentials such as food, toiletries, baby care and hygiene products and medicines. Our army of outreach workers, fundraisers and volunteers have been bringing weekly provisions to some of the most vulnerable families living in the south east of England (including Buckinghamshire)”.