Welcome to the SPRING edition of the newsletter from LATCH.
It has been a very busy and exciting three months for the Charity! In this edition , you will…
- Learn of details of the major refurbishment of Rainbow ward from our Chair
- Hear of internal projects to support further the role of the charity
- Meet our new treasurer and trustee
- Receive an update from our trustee who is leading a new fundraising strategy for LATCH
- Share Iwan’s first Christmas experiences at LATCH
…and lots more including Ivor the Engine!
As ever, thank you for your interest and ongoing support of LATCH patients and families. As we celebrate the onset of Spring season, bringing new beginnings after the dark days of 2020, we take this opportunity to send you are good wishes for Easter and the coming months.
Chair @ LATCH
My good wishes to you in the Spring 2021 newsletter from the team at LATCH. As always there has been much activity within the charity and it is a pleasure to share the highlights and news with you.
On behalf of the trustees, I am delighted to announce that on the 24th February 2021, the Board of LATCH agreed unanimously to fund the refurbishment of Rainbow Ward. This refurbishment will meet the requirements for the 21st century transformation of the children’s oncology ward for its patients, families, medical and support staff at the University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff.
The £1.4m project will see extensive structural improvements to Rainbow ward including the day beds, used for chemotherapy and other procedures, theatre facilities, the addition of ambient lighting and distraction techniques, and will also significantly improve the working conditions and environment for the clinical and support staff.
This project will support the aims of the Children’s Board and Directorate and Welsh Commissioners for Children’s Cancer Services in Wales, to deliver the best possible clinical care to children and their families. This investment will provide.
- superior clinical facilities to complement the outstanding care of patients
- an enhanced experience for the duration of the child and parents’ inpatient stay
- a centre of expertise and excellence for Wales in paediatric oncology
This development is the culmination of vision and leadership of Judge Philip Price, Honorary President of LATCH, who has led the project from its inception in 2016. It is estimated that the completion date will be September 2021, with the project taking approximately 4 months to complete.
The trustees are indebted to the support and commitment of Alison Oliver, Clinical Service Lead for the Children’s Hospital for Wales. Working alongside Alison is the LATCH Steering Group, chaired by our trustee John Milner who leads on quality assurance and resources for the LATCH Board.
The new year has seen changes to the Board. Emma Wilkins, our treasurer, stood down from the Board at the end of December. Emma has supported LATCH steadfastly in her six years on the Board, as a trustee and a treasurer. On behalf of the trustees, we want to pay tribute to her dedication and commitment and wish her well in the future and we know that Emma will continue to follow and support LATCH’s developments.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce our new trustee and treasurer, Peter Patterson, who joined the Board on January 1st.
The charity welcomes new staff to the team. Natalie Ward has been appointed as administrative officer for the charity and Viktoria Gaspar has been appointed as bookkeeper. Our thanks to Mrs Janet Thomas, for her commitment and expertise to the role throughout her time working with LATCH.
The trustees acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the LATCH team, Iwan, Helen, Katie and Rachel, our social workers and Chanai and Natalie, our administrators, in all aspects of their roles during the second lockdown and the way in which they ensured that the LATCH office has been manned and parents have had a point of contact during these turbulent times. Our highly valued social workers have again worked tirelessly to maintain contact with families in the hospital and with outpatients during these difficult months.
The Board of trustees pays a special tribute to the clinical staff, the medical team and support staff in Rainbow ward for their unstinting and selfless care and dedication to their patients in the execution of their roles and additional duties during this global pandemic. We have received regularly ward updates from Kathy Pierce, the senior ward manager, despite such pressured times and we at LATCH send them our deepest gratitude.
On March 2nd, we hosted our first Zoom on line gathering for our LATCH ambassadors. These volunteers support the charity so proactively and it was very rewarding for Iwan and the trustees to meet and greet established and new friends and hear their views and thoughts for the charity as it moves forward.
As soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted fully, it is my intention to visit our branches to learn more of their activities and fundraising.
2022 will mark the 40th anniversary of LATCH. The Board and the team are now engaged in planning a year of celebrations and activities to make this significant milestone in its history. In the light of this, the charity will be shortly launching a fundraising campaign, which will be led by our trustee, Mrs Sandra Owen, who chairs our fundraising committee, supported by a very dedicated and experienced team of trustees. More details will follow shortly on our website and social media.
On behalf of the Board and the LATCH team, may I take this opportunity to thank you all for your passion, your unfailing commitment and your total support for the patients and their families cared for by LATCH.
With my warmest wishes,
Fund-raising: the next steps
Sandra Owen on the LATCH fundraising programme
On behalf of the LATCH team, Executive Chair and Trustees, I would like to thank sincerely all of our many supporters. We are incredibly grateful to the supporters of LATCH, who despite the pandemic, have continued to recognise the invaluable work of LATCH and the importance of fundraising and donations required in order to continue to provide the children and their families with the care and support they need whilst coping with their diagnosis and treatments.
We have an extremely busy and exciting time ahead and with the support of yourselves and new followers we can enable LATCH to continue its invaluable work whilst funding the £1.4 million refurbishment of the Children’s Oncology Unit.
We are in the process of upgrading our website and social media presence and hope that this will enable us to more effectively share your fundraising activities, challenges and successes.
Over the next few months we plan to extend our number of LATCH Ambassadors. As national restrictions are gradually lifted, we look forward to reopening Emyr’s and Chloe’s Karavans4theKidz enabling the Children and their families to have the much needed respite and a time to make wonderful memories in Porthcawl and Tenby.
2022 marks LATCH’s 40th Anniversary and we look forward to you all being part of these celebrations.
We look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for your current and future support.
Trustee and Founder of the Emyr Owen Branch of LATCH
Hear from LATCH’s General Manager
I hope that you and your loved ones continue to be safe and well through what is still a very unusual time. I can’t believe how long it’s already been since I wrote an update in the Autumn Newsletter. Time is absolutely flying by!
The biggest event that built up over the last few months for LATCH was of course Christmas, my first at LATCH. I had been told many times that it would not be the same as previous years and while it wasn’t quite how we would have all liked it to be – it was still incredibly rewarding for us as a team. Since starting at LATCH in September, I have been blown away by the generosity and kindness of all of our supporters. Despite everything that has happened in the last year, we have continued to receive donations and support.
I would like to thank you, our readers and all of our supporters for your ongoing support to LATCH at such a challenging time for charities – thank you so much!
Aside from Christmas, and the ongoing need to work around the restrictions, the team and I have been working hard on various projects and plans with the hope that we will be able to start running events and fund-raising activities later in the year, as the national restrictions are gradually lifted . We are continuing to run a temporary office rota aimed at reducing the amount of people in the office at one time, while still ensuring we are here to provide help, advice and support to whoever needs it, when they need it.
We’ve also been lucky enough to be involved in some great opportunities over the last few months,such as the ‘Ivor the Engine’ audio books (see the update later in the newsletter) and being a nominated charity to be Adventure Travel’s ‘Charity of the Year’, narrowly missing out. As Susan has outlined in her report, the breaking news of 2021, is the trustees’ decision to fund the refurbishment of Rainbow ward. It is a privilege for me and the team to be part of this £1.4m programme, which will have a significant impact on the patients, families and the clinical team.
Our first ambassadors’ coffee catch up via Zoom took place on March 2nd and it was great to meet so many volunteers and supporters and listen to their experiences and their views. This will become a regular feature for LATCH.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the LATCH team for their continued hard work and commitment, we are lucky to have such a dedicated team. I would also like to pay tribute to Alison Oliver, Ceri Abbott, the Play Specialist team and to all of ward clinical staff for their support, warm welcome and their exceptional work at this time.
I look forward to meeting more of you face to face in the coming months! Take care.
Christmas in 2020 was a bit different to normal because of the Covid restrictions. However we were committed to trying to keep Christmas as special as we could for our families, and while we weren’t able to set up our full grotto or have Santa visit the ward, we found new ways around this.
Despite the restrictions , we were inundated with gifts (as you can see from the photographs) which were all donated to our patients and their families to help make Christmas that bit more special. We were also supported by so many who fund-raised specifically over Christmas – including a big raffle by the Emyr Owen branch and a special Santa drive through in Bournemouth organized by the Farley family (See our website for more information).
Here’s some of the things we did this year;
- We set up the Lounge and Boardroom this year to hold all of our donated presents which allowed parents to come up one at a time to view and choose presents for their children
- Our very own Santa pre-recorded personalised Christmas messages for a number of our families
- The team delivered presents to over 50 families on the wards and at home,including some extra special help from ourHealth Board colleagues on the Ward
- We provided Christmas Eve packages for families who had to stay on the ward over Christmas week.
We received so many considerate comments and feedback from our families for the support and gifts they received over the Christmas period, which was so great to hear at the end of what has been an unusually tough year for everyone – so a huge thank you goes out to everyone involved!
As you will already be aware – we are continuing to manage the ongoing situation andvarious restrictions we need to follow both from the government and the Health Board. However,the vaccine roll-out is looking positive and the general feeling is that the tide is slowly turning, so we hope that we can move past this whole episode at some point later in the year.
The restrictions continue to provide challenges for the Ward, and subsequently us, especially as we would love to be holding events and welcoming visitors back to the office – but we just need to hold on a little bit before this can happen. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer!
Ivor the engine
In December last year, we were delighted to discover that the production company ‘Quintet Pictures’ was reviving ‘Ivor the Engine’ in an audiobook series voiced by the likes of Rob Brydon, Cerys Matthews and Eddie Izzard – with all proceeds from the project being donated to LATCH! This was an unexpected, but amazing gesture from the team to whom we are very grateful . The audio book is still available online.
Accommodation Refresh Project
As you may have seen on our Facebook page, we have started to do some fund-raising to refresh our accommodation. It has been a few years since it was last redecorated and we are looking to start the refresh in the next few months. The aim is to upgrade the current facilities, our Home from Home accommodation, to match its importance to us and to the families who need it. Feel free to take a look at the Just Giving page we have set up for more information.
What’s On Magazine
We have very recently been offered a unique opportunity to advertise LATCH in the ‘What’s On’ magazine which has kindly donated pages for us to showcase the charity
in their next 3 editions – so if you are a ‘What’s On’ reader, keep an eye out for our advertisements over the next few months!