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Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice collected their WellChild Award for ‘Best Team’ at the star studded tenth annual WellChild Awards in London last night. The team were picked from hundreds of nominations from across the UK to win the category of Best Team by a panel of judges made up of health professionals and young people with life limiting conditions.

The high profile awards ceremony was attended by many of WellChild’s celebrity supporters as well as Patron Prince Harry who met all the winners at a reception before the ceremony. The awards were hosted by Vernon Kay and included a special performance from Pixie Lott.

Other celebrities who attended to help celebrate with the outstanding winners included Gaby Roslin, Duncan Bannatyne, Joe Calzaghe, Russell Howard, Mark Foster, Alexandra Burke, Karren Brady, John Partridge, Oliver and James Phelps, Ed Chamberlin, Lauren Drummond, Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely to name a few.

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The Inspirational Child 3-6 category was presented on stage by Prince Harry who was obviously moved by all the stories of the evening’s winners, saying:

“I would like to congratulate each of the Award Winners – your stories are moving beyond words and remind us all of just how fantastic you all are. You are an example to us all – we can learn a great deal from your strength of character, resolve and humour in facing down challenges every day.”

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On receiving the Award on behalf of the team at NI Children’s Hospice, Tina McCrossan, Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services commented saying:

“As a team, we are delighted to have our work and initiatives recognised. We hope that our model will offer guidance to other hospice organisations who are attempting to develop this type of care in the future. I wish to thank WellChild for facilitating a platform from which best practice and new innovations can be recognised and shared. This Award comes at an important time for Children’s Hospice, as we encourage local government to develop a funded strategy over the coming decade, to implement recommendations from a Children’s Palliative Care Review.”

The NI Children’s Hospice team were nominated by colleague Dr Jayne Price, who comment saying:

The Award highlights an exceptional team that have responded to the needs of long term ventilated children and their families. The team have worked tirelessly at providing a high quality alternative option for this group of children and their families who experience protracted discharge from hospital. In particular, it acknowledges their ‘Step-Down’ care initiative which introduced a more home-like hospice environment, to give children a gentle transition to home.”

The exceptional team deserve to be formally commended for responding to the needs of one young person initially and then for ensuring the correct processes and strategies were in place to roll this model forward to address the needs of other children and their families within Northern Ireland. The model and the service evaluation will offer guidance to other hospice organisations who are attempting to develop this type of care in the future.”

WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children in the UK. The annual ceremony is aimed at celebrating the courage of children and young people who cope with serious illness or complex conditions and honours the dedication of professionals who go the extra mile for them and their families.

WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, said:

“It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many, many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country. All the panel members are moved by the bravery of the children, the stories of selfless care and support and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who make a great difference to the lives of seriously ill children and young people. The team truly deserves to be the winner of this award.”

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