Not for Profit

Urgent appeal for PPE for families with seriously ill children

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 13 July 2020 7:40

Urgent appeal for PPE for families with seriously ill children

A children’s charity based in Gloucestershire has set up a PPE lifeline for seriously ill children and their families and is appealing to businesses for help with stocks of items running low.  

WellChild, which has lost more than half of its income this year due to the pandemic, urgently needs surgical gloves and alcohol gels to send out to families across the UK. 

The Cheltenham-headquartered charity is appealing to businesses who have stocks of the items they can donate for distribution to get in touch at covid@wellchild.org.uk.  

It has sourced almost a quarter of a million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for families caring at home for seriously ill children, with more than 150,000 already sent to families in need across the UK.  

The charity, which supports thousands of families caring for children and young people with serious health needs UK-wide, had to quickly adapt its services when the coronavirus outbreak began to take hold. 

After setting up the WellChild COVID-19 Direct Response Service it has successfully dealt with more than 800 individual requests for help sourcing PPE, food, medicines, and supplies.  

Many of the families supported by WellChild are delivering round the clock medical care to their children and are totally reliant on external carers coming into their home. 

Many have been shielding since the start of the crisis and have struggled to access the PPE they need to let carers safely into their home. This has forced many to have vital care stopped, leaving families to deliver complex medical procedures and 24/7 care regimes on their own. 

As the rest of society begins to ease out of lockdown, many of these families will remain in isolation for the foreseeable future.  

So far WellChild has sent out items of PPE including 118,100 surgical gloves, 20,375 surgical masks, 1,441 bottles of hand sanitiser, 334 sets of scrubs and more, with tens of thousands more items ready to be shipped out.  

Julie Ridgeley, who cares for her 16-year-old daughter Lia said: “Lia has cerebral palsy with epilepsy and needs oxygen on a regular basis. She needs round the clock care and is very vulnerable. 

“Lia has care from a nurse once a week who we pay through personal independent payments and we do not have PPE for her.

“The NHS has not supplied PPE for Lia’s nurse, as she is a private carer. Without the PPE WellChild has provided Lia may not have been able to receive care from her nurse.”  

Colin Dyer, chief executive of WellChild, said: “We are delighted we have been able to support families of seriously ill children with the PPE they desperately need in these difficult times and we appeal to businesses who might be able to help families with specific items to contact us. 

“Surgical gloves are our number one priority right now and we also need alcohol gels to top up our dwindling supply as we deal with the hundreds of requests for PPE which are coming into our offices. 

“These are challenging times for everyone, but especially the families that WellChild supports. We had to quickly respond to a sudden and very urgent need from families across the country, who are more hidden and isolated than ever before. 

“Without PPE, they simply cannot get the vital support they need. This has left many?families forced to cope alone, placing them at very serious risk of burnout, the consequences of which could be?catastrophic for them and their children. 

“To have reached this important milestone at a time when our organisation is expecting to lose 60 per cent of income this year is testament to the hard work, determination, and commitment of everyone at WellChild over the last few months.   

“We thank all the individuals and companies who have supported our effort. We have more requests for help coming in every day, but our stocks are finite, and resources stretched. 

“For the families we support the challenges of COVID-19 are far from over. The more help we can get, the more we can bring these families safely through this unprecedented crisis.”  

Families caring for children with serious health needs can request PPE from the WellChild COVID-19 Response Team at https://www.wellchild.org.uk/coronavirus/direct-response/ 

To support WellChild’s work to help families through this crisis, please contact the charity, or donate via the website at www.wellchild.org.uk 

First published July 10.