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Special arts day for siblings of children with life-shortening conditions

Sunday 17 March 2019

Siblings of children cared for by Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for Sussex, were treated to a day at the Jerwood Gallery during February half term.

The day, funded by Children and the Arts and supported by the Jerwood Gallery, gave children the opportunity to create artworks using light-painting – a technique that involves using lights and a camera with a slow shutter speed – before enjoying lunch together on the beach. They were guided by local artist Lara Leslie from Press Play films and supported by a Care Support Worker and Family Counsellor from Chestnut Tree House.

“Our sibling’s days are really important,” explains Care Support Worker Susan Freeman. “Growing up with a brother or sister who has a life-shortening condition isn’t easy, and finding people who understand your situation can be difficult. Our sibling’s events give children the chance to meet others facing the same challenges, the chance to just be kids for the day and the chance to express themselves in a safe environment.”

“We all had a really lovely time,” she continues. “The day started quietly, with the children nervous and worried about joining in, but by the end they were chatting, laughing, and generally bonding and it was amazing to see.”

Chestnut Tree House cares for around 300 children with life-shortening conditions, at their hospice near Arundel and in children’s homes across East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. They also offer a range of activities for the whole family. Children and the Arts works with arts venues across the UK to reach children in communities and hospices who are in danger of missing out on creative and cultural experiences. The ambition of all of their programmes is to give those children a more fulfilled, creative and exciting education, whilst raising their confidence and aspiration.