Alexander Devine creates new role thanks to Children in Need grant

Alexander Devine creates new role thanks to Children in Need grant

Luke Matthews

Alexander Devine creates new role thanks to Children in Need grant

Care for the whole family is the number one priority for the new play specialist at Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service.

The charity, which offers support for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families, was able to create the new role thanks to a Children in Need grant.

Catherine Northup stepped into the new job at the end of January.

She hopes to allow children the time ‘just to be kids’, whether it be those going through treatment or their brothers and sisters.

The sessions also aim to take the pressure off of parents, taking them out of the role of 24-hour carers and returning them to simply being mum and dad again.

Catherine, who lives in Woodley, was delighted to have landed the role as the charity closes in on its goal to raise £5m and build Berkshire’s first children’s hospice in Woodlands Park.

“It really is my dream job, being part of such a dynamic team,” said Catherine, who previously worked with children with genetic conditions in Baltimore, America.

“It’s really exciting to be starting close to building the hospice.

“The facilities there will be amazing for the kids and their brothers and sisters. They are the best support, nobody else really gets it.

“My job is working with all the children, normalising play and therapeutic play.

“We use it because that is the natural language of childhood; that’s how they express themselves.”

Catherine explained it also allows families to meet others going through to same experiences.

Sally Stevens, director of fundraising and communications at the charity, based in White Waltham, said the securing of the grant was a credit to the organisation.

She added the team had worked hard to gain the funding and knew it would be used to create the play specialist role but ‘didn’t think they would get someone as amazing as Catherine’.

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