Hospice's groundbreaking schools project is back

St Elizabeth Hospice’s groundbreaking project to tackle taboos around death with Suffolk schoolchildren has seen a second group of pupils and patients benefiting.

Last December, the Hospice, which provides specialist palliative care for people living life with a progressive illness and support for their families, teamed up with Cedarwood Primary School in Kesgrave for the first project of its kind in East Anglia.

It was such a success that it has just been run for a second time, with a different set of year six pupils from the school. They visited the Hospice, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, once a week for a month and took part in group activities with current patients to explore issues such as death, hospice care, bereavement, disability and loss.

The pupils were able to ask the patients any questions about their illness and experiences and taboo subjects are explored openly with the support of skilled Hospice staff.

The pupils and patients then worked together to express the stories they have heard in a creative way, such as through song, artwork or a scrapbook.

The initiative – called the Larch Group – culminated in the patients and children celebrating their journey at a presentation and party attended by family, school staff, Hospice employees and volunteers on Friday 16th March.

Pupil Enya said: “I realised that people who are ill and may be dying aren’t necessarily upset. The Hospice is a place for living.”

Pupil Rochelle Scoulding said: “The hospice is a really fun place and if other schools get a chance to come here then they definitely should.”

The next Larch Group will take place in the summer with Ipswich’s St Mary’s Primary.

If your school or college would like to get involved please email enquiries@stelizabethhospice.org.uk or call 01473 707014.

Sign up to receive monthly updates