Family Support Workers are a key part of our Family Wellbeing and Outreach Team. As well as working in the hospice, they work in local communities in Wales to make sure families get the specialist help they need wherever they need it.

We spoke to Amy, a Family Support Worker at Tŷ Hafan, to find out more about her crucial role.

“Family Support Workers work with families to support their emotional wellbeing. That could be long term, or until they start counselling,” Amy explains.

“We work one-to-one with families and in groups, putting on lots of events at the hospice and in local communities.

“The events are really varied. They can have a particular focus on mums, dads or siblings, or they can be for whole families. Each member of the family has different support needs, so we work hard to give everyone tailored support.

Amy, Emma and Dan

“My colleagues Emily, Dan and Kelly-Jo and I work together to make sure everyone who accesses Tŷ Hafan gets an equal service.

“Mine and Emily’s community-based work is split geographically so that we can ensure each area is receiving an equal service. This is extremely important for our families in rural communities.

“Kelly-Jo primarily offers support for siblings, Dan primarily offers support for dads and me and Emily mainly offer support for mums and for whole families.”

Tŷ Hafan events are driven by what families want to do. We put on spa days, coffee mornings and meet-ups in a variety of areas. We’ve noticed that some families want to do more adventurous activities, so a group of mums went axe throwing recently and it was a lot of fun!

Amy explains: “I love getting a large group of people together. It helps people connect. At these events, families might find out that they live just down the road from each other, or their children go to the same school. These events help families make their own connections and find a support system near to where they live.

“One-to-one time with families is also crucial. Having a regular, reliable person to speak to who they know can understand their experiences can really help a family’s wellbeing.”

“Bereavement support and memory making is a big part of my job, too,” adds Amy.

“When a child comes to us for end-of-life care, I help families create precious memories with their child through activities like making hand casts, creating artistic canvasses with handprints and saving locks of hair.

“My days are really varied. I can be running an event in the morning and, that same day, I may be needed to help a Family Support Practitioner with memory making.

“I love everything about my job. I always knew I wanted to help people and I started volunteering with children with complex needs from a young age. I’m so grateful to work somewhere I feel is my forever place.

“Our Community Hubs are also a big part of what we do. They take Tŷ Hafan’s services into local communities in Wales so that we can reach as many families as possible.

Amy and Kelly-Jo

“A lot goes on at the Community Hubs! The Family Support Workers’ roles are to make sure families can connect and make friendships within their local communities. We do this by ensuring all the family has as much fun as possible, as well as being a listening ear.” Our Complementary Therapy Team goes along to Community Hubs to give families relaxing treatments like massage, and crafts and therapeutic play are both important features of these monthly community events.”

“We can have very difficult days at Tŷ Hafan, but there’s so much more than sadness.

“Amazing things happen at Tŷ Hafan. It isn’t just a place where children come to die – it’s a place to make the most beautiful memories as a family. We do everything we can to make a very short life a very happy life.”

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