Iris House Children’s Hospice forced to cancel their planned Parent Support event
Parent Appreciation Day, which was due to take place on the 24th of June. The event is an opportunity for families of special needs children who are life-limited and/or life-threatened, to get together in a non-judgmental environment and form lasting friendships. As not all the families have transport of their own, the cost of transporting them to the hospice is over R10 000, and providing them with lunch and entertainment is costly. Over 200 parents were scheduled to attend this annual event, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to lack of funds. Iris House’s regular sponsors, who do SO much for them, were unable to assist them on this occasion. Sue van der Linde, CEO and Founder of the charity, says “it was a very tough decision to make” as they are well aware of how much the parents look forward to these events, which provide them with badly-needed moral and emotional support.
Moving forward, Sue with her fundraising team and the backing of her board members will be ramping up their fund-raising efforts and in particular focusing on re-occurring monthly donations. She says “The reality is, we have outgrown the amount of funding we receive from the Dept of Social Development, whose much-needed contribution covers only 30% of our costs, and we need to become even more self-sufficient. We will not start charging for our services, which are all free to our families, as this would mean those with higher income would get the lion’s share of our services and those living below the bread line would not be able to afford care at all. This is not a level playing field, and is not how Iris House works.”
Although in tough times many NPO’s charge or limit their services, Iris House follows the trend of the needs of their families and adapts and grows in line with this. Sue comes from a retail buying and marketing background and is well versed in changing, expanding and varying stock to meet changing customer needs. The concept remains true with their services. Running Iris House is a dynamic process, where the charity has to grow, change, adapt, and expand according to the different needs of each child and their family.
Having a reliable monthly income flow would dramatically strengthen their cash flow position and allow them to budget more effectively.
The holistic services offered by the hospice to the 425 children they serve include:
*respite care in the community
*respite care at the hospice
*services of their social workers, physio-therapist, qualified nurse, art and music therapy, equine therapy, support groups for parents and siblings, bereavement counselling
* A literacy program – with their Imagination Station story telling
*parental training and empowerment
*assistance with food, nappies, and where necessary, medical equipment
*assistance with the care and removal of children who are being abused and/or neglected.
An important issue which has been directly affected by the current lack of funding is their Safety House Parent training program. Abuse and neglect is, sadly, rife within the realms of special needs. Currently, there is almost nowhere for these children, who are at risk, to be placed, and Iris House has embarked on a project with AGAPE (an existing safety parent network) to train and empower their registered safety parents to take in special needs children. Given the current government funding cut backs, this essential service is under threat. Iris House is determined to find a way to complete the training of the 87 safety parents who have expressed interest in taking in special needs children who are at risk.
Often, the respite care or support services Iris House offer is the only lifeline available to the families of special needs children. Iris House feels very strongly about its obligation to continue to support these amazing children and their parents. They are reaching out to you, the public, to support their work. Can you imagine if every person living in the Western Cape had to commit to a monthly re-occurring donation of R50 or R100?
We ask the public to look at their circumstances and see if they could make a small monthly payment contribution. If you are the parent of healthy children, even more reason to contribute, as you appreciate that your children can grow up, live a full life, and be independent. “It is almost impossible to imagine the challenges our children and families face on a daily basis, but if you can for one moment imagine this, I am sure you wouldn’t hesitate to show your support”, says Sue.
If you would like to visit our hospice in Bellville please contact us on 021 910 1578 to arrange a visit.
“As one person I cannot change the world, But I can change the world of one person.” – Paul Shane Spear
Secure online monthly donations can be made via our Payfast platform on our website using the link http://iris-house.org/monthly-donations/ OR EFT payments can be made directly to our bank account.
Account Name: Iris House Children’s Hospice NPC
Name of Bank: FNB
Branch Name: N1 City
Branch Code: 250655
Account Type: Current
Account Number: 62314506108
I Ban Number: FIRNZAJJ