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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Friday, 24 December 2010
EACH staff in Ipswich prepare for Christmas emergencies
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

Simon King, EACH
Simon King with some of the EACH children's Christmas artwork

EACH staff are spending their last Christmas at their existing Ipswich bungalow before moving to the new purpose-built children's hospice.

The Treehouse Appeal is trying to raise £3m for the centre which is being built at St Augustine's Gardens.

It is expected that the new children's hospice will open in 2011.

"For those families who have a child who is needing our service, Christmas can be an extremely precious time," said Simon King, EACH.

East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) had 67 families as clients at Christmas 2010, but it is a time of year when those families look after their children at home.

In the run-up to Christmas the hospice has been holding regular festive activities such as plastering the walls in seasonal pictures, having a tree, a Christmas party, carol concert and a visit from Ipswich Town players.

On call

EACH staff will be on call across the Christmas period to come in to the hospice or go out to family homes or hospitals.

Simon King, who is head of palliative care at Ipswich, said: "Christmas for us is a time when, as throughout the year, our service is responsive to what the families would like and what they receive.

"If a family say they really can't cope at home and would like to have care in the hospice, we'll provide that care.

"If a mum rang up at 10 o'clock on Christmas Eve and said 'I've just fallen down on the ice and broken my leg, help', we would be ready.

"And we're ready to support should it be necessary to give care at the end of a child's life and that has happened in the past [at Christmas]."

EACH Treehouse, Ipswich
EACH's Melanie Chew at the new Treehouse building in Ipswich

Christmas presents

The hospice is full of toys and games and EACH isn't seeking any more for Christmas.

Mr King said: "We don't get so many actual gifts for the children and that's entirely appropriate because you really need to look at the individual and see what they enjoy and what would they like.

"We're not looking for gifts, but support for the charity and fundraising is fantastic at Christmas.

The Treehouse Appeal total increased by £400,000 in the month up to Christmas Day.

Mr King said: "I'm astonished and extremely delighted with the response from the public.

"2011 is going to be an exceptional year for the service so there's a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the Treehouse Appeal."

Donate now

To give money to the Treehouse Appeal, please send a cheque made payable to "EACH Treehouse Appeal" to:

EACH Treehouse Appeal, Epsilon House, West Road, Ipswich, IP3 9FJ

The appeal donation line number is 01473 276116.

Donate online at EACH Treehouse Appeal .

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EACH Treehouse Appeal supported by BBC Suffolk EACH Treehouse Appeal
BBC Suffolk is helping East Anglia's Children's Hospices raise the 3million needed to fund a purpose built hospice in Ipswich.
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