A space to be

When your son has a rare genetic condition and needs additional support, EACH provides a place of refuge, refreshment and care

By Tim Gibson

Andrew Revitt says that people are unsure how to talk to you when your child has a disability, additional need or is ill. They worry about saying the wrong thing or causing offence.

    EACH has been a real support. Some years ago, Penny found out that the charity offers respite care to parents of children with life-limiting illness.  

So often they don’t say anything at all, or skirt around conversation through fear of getting it wrong.

But when he is at The Treehouse, EACH’s Ipswich hospice, things are different. There, people know just what life is like for him and his wife Penny. They know how to provide succour and support without crowding or causing awkwardness.

They know how to give the Revitts space to be, secure in the knowledge that they are understood, and that the most important person in their lives is safe and nurtured.

That person is Sam: Sammy to his Mum and Dad. He was born without any sign of illness, but his development appeared to stall at six months old. He was diagnosed with epilepsy at seven months old and his consultant set about trying to find out the reason why.

Sam would be four and a half years old before he was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that significantly limits his cognitive and physical abilities.

He can’t sit or stand without support. He has a wheelchair and although he can be fed during the day, he needs top-up feeds through a peg in his tummy overnight. He’s had a major operation to insert rods in his back, which are extendable so that they can grow with him. He is susceptible to infections, and visits to hospital are a fact of life for the Revitt family.

For all that, Andrew says he is sure that Sam enjoys life: “He can’t talk, but you can see him interacting with his eyes. He recognises people and shows excitement when he sees friends and family. He’s a joy to be with and we relish his company.”

Even so, living with a child who has disabilities takes its toll. Andrew says that he and Penny are frequently tired because they’re caring for Sam. They are limited in what they can do socially and with their free time, because of the necessities of caring for and feeding Sam, and ensuring he’s comfortable.

With no local family support on hand, they can experience the understandable burnout and isolation that comes from their situation.

    For many of us, the charity is a sanctuary in the midst of very challenging circumstances.  

But East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices has been a real support. Some years ago, Penny found out that the charity offers respite care to parents of children with life-limiting illness. She asked to access its services.

“People think that a hospice only cares for children who are dying,” says Andrew. “But a significant part of EACH’s work is geared towards children just like Sammy: those whose lives are restricted, but whose condition isn’t terminal.”

By providing respite care every couple of months, EACH has given Andrew and Penny an invaluable lifeline. “We sometimes spend the time going on trips or doing ‘normal’ things like meals out or visits to the cinema,” Andrew says. “Other times we’ll catch up on housework or DIY. And whatever we do, it’s so reassuring to know that Sammy is being looked after by people who understand his needs and show genuine compassion in everything.”

This is the special feature of EACH’s services, both in hospices and out in the community. It is characterised by a deep care for patients and their families, helping them to live every second, even if life is curtailed by illness.

“We thoroughly enjoy the events that EACH organises,” Andrew says. “Treefest, the music festival, is a real highlight, and Penny and I regularly attend socials for parents and family carers. I recently went to a men’s and male carers' steak and beer evening, and such events are a real support. Being male, we don’t tend to talk much about our children’s illnesses. But it’s great to be in the company of people who ‘get it’, who understand the impact on a parent’s life of living with a child with a disability or chronic illness.”

At heart, EACH provides a community for people like Andrew and Penny, just as much as it does for Sam. “It is a place where we feel comfortable,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like a hospital, and there’s never any pressure to get involved in anything we don’t want to.

    “By supporting EACH, people make a tangible difference to patients and their loved ones..."  

“Best of all, The Treehouse feels normal. It’s a safe and supportive space where we are very much at home.”

Such is the depth of Andrew’s feeling for EACH, he’s a staunch supporter of the charity. “Most people don’t need EACH, so while they are sympathetic to its objectives, it doesn’t have an impact on their lives. But it serves a huge geographic area and needs all the support it can get. Only about a fifth of its funding comes from the NHS, so it is reliant on the generosity of donors.

“By supporting EACH, people make a tangible difference to patients and their loved ones. For many of us, the charity is a sanctuary in the midst of very challenging circumstances. It provides a place to call home. It helps us to feel at ease in the world.”

Published: 14 November 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Just Recruitment is sponsoring EACH’s “Happy Christmas Ipswich” comedy evening, hosted by Griff Rhys Jones. To support the event or donate to EACH, please click here.

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: When words run out: meet EACH’s art therapist

You may also enjoy: A history of the hospice movement

Jobs currently available

Equity Release Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910156
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Equity Release Advisor to join an established company based in Needham Market.

Operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. They are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

  • A CeMAP / Equity Release qualification
  • Experience within mortgage broking or Equity Release
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Please get in touch if you would like to be considered for this exciting new opportunity.

Read more
Mortgage Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910155
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Mortgage Advisor to join an established mortgage company based in Needham Market.

Operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. They are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

You will have:

  • A CeMAP qualification (happy to consider newly qualified applicants)
  • Experience within mortgage broking or financial services
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Please get in touch if you would like to be considered for this exciting new opportunity.

Read more
Technical Assistant
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: £21,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909828
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Technical Assistant on behalf of a company based in Halstead, Essex.

Your duties will include:

  • Ensure finished product specifications are completed and correct, meeting legal and customer requirements.
  • Reviewing and approving artwork for new and existing product development.
  • Liaising with NPD and commercial/marketing for new product information.
  • Conducting internal audits against the quality management system.
  • Responsible for dealing with all Trade Complaints in a professional and timely manner.
  • Responsible for label creation and making sure the label system is kept up to date.
  • Completing customer documentation as required.
  • Dealing with various technical tasks on an ad-hoc basis.

Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 4.30pm.
Free parking.

Read more
Junior Web Developer
Sector: Media and Internet
Salary: Discussed at application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910116
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Junior Web Developer on behalf of a company based in Colchester.

The purpose of this role is to support in the building of email templates, landing pages, micro-sites and any other digital projects as well as testing work produced by the Development team. You will be producing high-quality code as part of a team and as an individual.

You will ideally have one year’s experience in a development environment with basic level practical knowledge of HTML, CSS and jQuery. Having an understanding of JavaScript, PHP and MySQL would be beneficial.

Job responsibilities:

  • Support the Development team in the build of email templates, landing pages and micro-sites.
  • Front-end development across multiple devices, browsers and operating systems.
  • Fixing known bugs in front-end projects.
  • Help plan and timescale future projects as well as contribute with ideas for future client projects.
  • Keep up to date with web development, design trends and technologies.
  • Quality assurance functionality testing on websites, landing pages, email templates, web applications and apps built by the Development team. Includes front-end cross browser testing and back-end functionality testing.
Read more
Financial Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £24,000 - £43,000 per annum
Location: North West London and South West London
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910114
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Financial Advisor to cover North West London and another one to cover South West London on behalf of a financial services provider.

The company is looking for enthusiastic and confident individuals to join their team. You will be offering savings, investment, and protection products to help families and individuals reach their financial goals, protect their families and improve communities. 

What the role entails:

  • You will be provided with a customer database which you will build upon.
  • You will also receive ongoing support, guidance, training and development in their processes, systems and products to help you succeed in your role.
  • You will enjoy the autonomy of being home-based and responsible for managing your daily activities and diary as well as being part of a successful team of Financial Advisers.

If you are from a sales background, and have a genuine desire in providing financial advice to help families and individuals reach their financial goals you will be rewarded with a basic salary of £24,000 plus uncapped earning potential for achievement of your goals (*average £37,000 in year 1 and £43,000 in year 2 based) together with a company car, life cover and a pension scheme into which the company will contribute up to 10% of total earnings.

Knowledge, skills and experience:

  • Able to build and maintain strong customer relationships.
  • Professional approach.
  • Drive and determination to succeed.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Working knowledge of computer systems.
  • Sales background, previous experience in financial services would be advantageous, but not essential.
Read more