Posted September 5, 2017

SS Systems Limited have serviced the fire alarm at Bluebell Wood Hospice for many years now and have always sought to support them.

Recently, we have decided to more actively support a local cause, choosing Bluebell Wood as our main charity. So I went along to have a look around.

To say that it made an impact is an understatement. Their motto is “living with love and laughter” and it’s certainly lived out both in the light and airy building and in the smiles of all the staff.

Bluebell Wood care for children and young adults with life-shortening and life-threatening conditions, currently supporting around 250 families, both in their own homes and at the hospice in North Anston, Sheffield.

It’s an inspiring place. The genuine love and care that the staff show, both to people in their care and the visitors they greet, is heart-warming. I was shown round by one of the fund-raising team who took great care to ensure that I understood why Bluebell Wood is different to traditional care facilities.

When I entered reception, the first thing that I noticed was that they had a mascot – a black cocker spaniel called George (being a dog person my eyes were naturally drawn to the furry friend on screen). David went on to explain that one of the children who was helped by Bluebell Wood had always wanted a dog. At the hospice, they are keen to support visitors in any way they can so the girl’s father bought her a dog, which stayed with her right up until the time she sadly passed away. That quickly gave me an insight into how they work at Bluebell – their main aim is to help visitors enjoy the life they have.

I went from reception through to the main lounge area to find it decorated as a Mad Hatter’s tea party, left over from the previous week’s celebrations, with a dinosaur egg in the corner ready for the next week’s events. Always something going on it seems.

The education room was next, where I was greeted by a very smiley lady who was painting with one of the residents. She had been there for years, and was obviously very dedicated to the cause and proud of the work done by the hospice. Our engineer had been to site recently to service their fire alarm, and she suggested that at the next service we send our engineers in ghostbuster uniforms. Great idea! Apparently, that’s what our engineers look like in their workwear with their smoke detector testing kit! It was nice to hear that “your engineer is so lovely”. It can’t be easy to maintain a fire alarm in a hospice where there is so much going on, but they do it really well without intruding.

From there, David took me through to one of their “end of life” rooms – it sounds a little morbid to talk about it but it’s something the staff at the hospice, and the families, have to face. It’s good to see that, even in such sad times, the dignity shown and the all-encompassing care demonstrated enables the families to spend their last hours with loved ones in a comfortable, caring environment.

I went from room to room, taking in the variety of bright colours, fun equipment, cinema rooms, playrooms, bedrooms with very little evidence of “hospital” equipment. Just room after room of colour, happy people and laughter. I’m sure there are times when that’s not always the case, but the staff and volunteers who are there obviously care about making the place a happy place.

If you ever get a chance to visit Bluebell Wood I’d recommend it. It certainly makes you think about making the most of life and enjoying the moments. I’m looking forward to seeing our engineers in their Ghostbuster outfits and seeing more smiles on the faces of the residents, visitors and staff.