How Ty Hafan Hospice re-engaged with the families of children with a life-limiting condition after the COVID-19 pandemic, providing opportunities to get peer support and connect with the hospice team.

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Project overview


During the COVID-19 pandemic, families of children with a life limiting condition had limited access to hospice stays. This led to some families becoming increasingly isolated, as they were less able to get support from their peers, build relationships with the hospice team or find out about the wide range of services on offer.

As the pandemic restrictions eased the Ty Hafan Family Wellbeing team received a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation via Hospice UK. They developed community based Stay & Play Hubs as a way to bring the hospice to families; recognising that particularly for families who lived long distances away from the hospice building accessing support closer to home was preferred

The Hubs take place in community locations, and provide a space where children and families can do craft activities, play games, engage in therapies and get the psychosocial support they need. 



The Stay & Play events are in the early stages, but it is clear that families are benefiting.

Emma's experience


Emma (a mum) arrived unexpectedly to the Hub in Caerphilly, clearly exhausted and stressed. She needed her Family Support Practitioner to help her complete some funding forms. Through sitting and chatting, Emma was able to talk about the issues she was facing both financially and personally, and it was obvious that she needed time for herself to talk through her problems. Once Emma had recharged with a cup of tea, she went to collect her two youngest children so they could join in the fun.

On leaving the Hub, Emma told staff that she hadn’t realised how much she had needed the last couple of hours. She said she was leaving the Hub 100 times happier than when she had walked in. The following day, Emma sent a message to thank staff for their support, saying that she had really needed the chat and that she had slept well for the first time in ages.

Emily's experience


Emily is a bereaved sibling, who has been fundraising for Ty Hafan by making tie dye t-shirts. She relished the opportunity to come to a Stay & Play Hub and demonstrate how the process works. Other families and the staff (some of whom should have listened to Emily’s expert advice and worn gloves!) loved every second of being able to make their own t-shirts. Emily was an excellent teacher who remained very patient with the tie dye beginners.

Siblings of children with a life limiting condition also live in the shadow of that condition. They have to adapt their own lives to fit in with their sibling’s complex needs. This priceless experience gave Emily an opportunity to feel valued for her own skills and abilities.

Facilitators, challenges and advice


Key facilitators

The whole Ty Hafan team has been committed to delivering the Hub events. Everyone understands the positive impact these opportunities provide for families.

The biggest facilitator has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback and gratitude from the families who attend – and of course the lovely smiles on the children’s faces.


Ty Hafan covers a large catchment area, much of which is remote or rural. Finding a location that is accessible for several families and then a venue that has the appropriate space and facilities has been a challenge.

A high level of resources are needed to deliver a Hub (around 5 or 6 staff per Hub). On paper this makes it an expensive and resource heavy service to deliver against the number of families attending, which could sometimes be small numbers. However this is counterbalanced by the significant positive impact.

Tips and advice


Clearly identify your priority localities and establish Hubs in these places first.

Set clear expectations around review periods – for example, plan to set up three Hubs in a specific locality and then review engagement and impact before committing to continue and expand the service/

Future development


Ty Hafan has sourced further funding to ensure both the continuation and growth of the Hubs and Play and Stay is now an accepted core element of the hospice support offer.

New Hubs continue to be established based on family need and locality.

The team have designed more robust feedback and impact measurement tools to ensure the service continues to evolve around identified family need.

Logo of the Masonic Charitable Foundation

Masonic Charitable Foundation

We would like to acknowledge the generous support provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation through the Hospice UK Grants programme, without which this project would not be possible.