The creators of the BBC's Waybuloo programme have teamed up with Demelza to create a truly original film to break down some of the stereotypes about children’s hospices.
The £15,000 project was only possible after a donation from Demelza supporters the Peyton family who lost a five-year-old child.
With four days of filming the puppet based live action film was made entirely by young people who use Demelza and siblings from the puppet making, writing the storylines to filming and sound recording.
The film was officially launched at the Demelza children’s party for Kent families at Detling Showground on Sunday 6th January.
Lucy, 18, said: “It was really tiring and made me really think about Demelza more. I’ve been using the services for years and I just wanted to give some back and help other children understand how Demelza might help them and their family.”
Dan Good and Absolutely Cuckoo worked with the children and staff to produce the film. Dan is the creator of Waybuloo. Dan's company, Absolutely Cuckoo create films and television for children and they have also worked with the NHS and many children's charities.
Dan said: "We are really excited about working with Demelza, we aim to frame the children and give them the support they need to create their own characters and tell their own stories."
Demelza is now in its 15th year of supporting life-limited / threatened young people and their families. The idea of the film was to give an insight into a children’s hospice by the people who use it and the puppets allowed the young people to be honest and direct about the struggles they face.
It will be used to help new children being referred to the hospice and their families in answering questions like what happens in a hospice, who uses a hospice, what emotional support can they get and what bereavement support is available for siblings and parents / carers.
Willis Atherley-James, Demelza’s Head of Psychosocial Support Services said: “We have created a successful, but fresh film that remains honest to the voice of ill children and their siblings. It also acts as a gentle way into the hospice for new families that come to us. Each family will have their own DVD as part of an introduction to the hospice and they will be invited to make a puppet of their own supported by staff.
“Again, this is another way of encouraging conversation with the child and family in a gentle way. We also intend to use the DVD as an educational tool, demonstrating that ill children have voices if only we allow ourselves to be creative in connecting with them.”
Watch the film by clicking here