I’ve driven past the Bluebells many times as we have friends who live in North Waltham. I always thought it looked like a posh nursing home. It was only when I visited on a works volunteer day, that I discovered exactly what the Bluebells is.
I can’t really explain how much my visit to Bluebells impacted me. It’s an incredibly moving but inspiring place and right on our doorstep.
Next summer I would like to do something to help raise funds for this fantastic place, via NHM. If you are interested in helping with this, please let me know.
Sebastian’s Action Trust
I am Jane Gates, a 50 year old mother of two from Binfield in Berkshire.
In 2003 my brave nine-year old son, who at the time was battling a rare form of cancer, inspired my husband Michael and I, together with our daughter Rebecca, to set up the charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust.
Our tireless work was recognised in 2012 when along with Michael I accepted the prestigious Pride of Britain Award on behalf of The Trust for our work and its impact.
Sadly my son, Sebastian lost his battle on the 24th of December 2003 but his vision, spirit and drive lives on through our work.
Today The Trust stands proud and is a tribute to Sebastian’s insight, bravery and vision. His aim was to provide a place where life-limited children and their families can holiday together away from the rigours of hospital appointments, gruelling treatment schedules and prying eyes. Importantly for very sick children the home needed to be clean, safe and adaptable to meet their often complex physical and emotional needs. Sebastian’s vision was simple, yet vital for those facing the loss of a beloved child; he wanted to create a private place where memories could be made which would last a life-time, even if that life was to be cruelly cut short.
In 2011 Sebastian’s vision was finally realised and The Bluebells, the UK’s first purpose built respite holiday home was completed. The Bluebells is located in the beautiful village Hampshire village of North Waltham.
It consists of:
- two four-bedroom self-catering apartments, each with a lounge and kitchen diner which can support families using wheelchairs and specialist medical equipment
- an indoor pool with spa with disabled access. We hold a range of specialist dry suits so that children who have feeding tubes can still access the pool.
- an indoor games area with a wide selection of computer games, traditional board games and toys
- a home cinema
- a multi-sensory room
- a music room
- an art room
- a therapies room
- an outdoor adventure play area
- a nine-hole mini golf course &a secret meadow.
Since opening in July 2011 The Bluebells has given over 200 families the opportunity to spend precious time together, safe in the knowledge that the home is close to the hospital and that trained live-in staff are on hand to provide help and support should this be needed.
Our work now extends further into emotional and practical support for families during the darkest days of their lives. This work is delivered by trained Outreach Workers who work with families to ascertain their needs and to deliver bespoke support aimed at easing their suffering and isolation. Our work is primarily focused across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire Surrey and Hampshire. We do however also support families from further afield to come to The Bluebells because there is simply no other project of its kind in the UK.