THE BBC One Show’s Surprise Squad and TV presenter Ronan Keating were at St. Luke’s Hospice in Essex last week, undertaking a special build as part of BBC Children in Need’s 2022 Appeal.
The Surprise Squad team, who are made up of five inspirational young people who have benefited from BBC Children in Need funding, were challenged to build an outdoor space to support the Luke’s Counselling and Support for Children and Young People (Luke’s) service at the hospice in Thurrock.
Over two days the Surprise Squad built a wooden cabin on the lawn and furnished it with chairs, a workbench and arts and crafts supplies. The Cabin was constructed from scratch and workbench built by the Surprise Squad, who worked from early morning until dark to finish the project.
Looking out onto the serene surroundings of the Hospice grounds, the new Cabin provides a unique space in the natural environment, which will enable children and young people the freedom to explore and understand their emotions with the support of the St. Luke’s Hospice counselling team.
The cyclical and seasonal nature of the cabin’s surroundings enables the Luke’s team to work with children, young people, and their families to witness and become immersed in the natural world. This can help them to cope with their bereavement and promote discussions about end of life supported in a very visual way, which may be easier to understand. The changing seasons also demonstrate renewal and hope through new life in the spring.
The build was shown on BBC One’s The One Show earlier this week as part of Children in Need, which airs this week on BBC One (Friday 18th November).
Children in Need have generously supported the Luke’s Counselling and Support for Children and Young People (Luke’s) service which provides pre and post bereavement counselling to young people aged 4-19.
Sarah Linzey, Head of Wellbeing, Information and Supportive Care Services St. Luke’s Hospice, said: “The cabin is such a wonderful space. Having a place we can support children and young people outdoors where they are surrounded by nature is something the team and I hoped for, as we know what a huge difference it will make. We’re so thankful to the Surprise Squad, everyone at Children in Need and The One Show for their hard work and generosity. This wasn’t an easy challenge but you did it and you should be really proud.”
Sarah Linzey was part of the surprise on the first day of building, along with colleague Rachel Vallely, who were tasked with convincing the Luke’s counselling team that they were having a team building day.
Rachel Vallely, Family Support Services Lead at St. Luke’s Hospice, said: “It was really hard to keep this secret from the team but watching their reaction and pure joy when they were surprised by Ronan and the Squad was amazing.
“We know what a difference having a space like this will make to the children and young people we support, so it has been very emotional. I know what a huge task this was for the Surprise Squad and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
For more information visit the website www.stlukeshospice.co.uk/children-in-need.