NESTLED in nature – Derian House Children’s Hospice has revealed a new addition to its counselling space for families.
The new woodland counselling pod was officially opened by three-year-old Isla and five-year-old Isaac who cut the ribbon at a special ceremony yesterday (Tuesday, August 22).
The wooden cabin will provide a serene setting for mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents to have counselling sessions to help them process their feelings, among the peaceful hospice gardens.
Dad Roy, 51, visits one of Derian House’s garden pods regularly for counselling with Family Counsellor, John Pilling.
Roy, of Wigan, said: “The counselling pod in the garden feels different – it’s difficult to describe. It’s like when Alice followed a rabbit into Wonderland, or walking through a wardrobe into Narnia. When you’re in one of the garden pods, you feel completely cut off from the world. I think they help you to open up more because you’re outside, in the middle of nature, there are no walls.
“I was genuinely surprised how quickly I could relate to John in our sessions. People have said they have seen a change in me. Even month on month, I feel different. Counselling has really helped.”
Roy’s daughter Jessica, 16, has very complex needs that require 24/7 care from Roy and his family. Jessica visits Derian House regularly for respite, to relax in the sensory room, and for arts and crafts in the Messy Play area.
“I have very complex issues, but that’s because I have a very complex life,” continued Roy.
“When I first started counselling sessions, I couldn’t discuss how I felt. I’m only now managing to talk about how I feel. I feel happier, more able to express myself. The downs in my life are not as bad as they were.
“I think it’s the perfect combination to have a counsellor you trust and to be in such a calming setting.”
Derian House family counsellors Fazila Patel and John Pilling come from different working backgrounds and more than 30 years of counselling experience between them.
John said: “There is a feel of escapism when you sit in one of the counselling pods that helps you to feel calm and grounded. For families that don’t want to go into the hospice building, the pods are perfect. They don’t feel clinical, which helps them to feel more relaxed and can help them verbalise their emotions better.”
Fazila added: “Some of our families have gone through so much, for them to have a tranquil space in the hospice gardens is fantastic. It makes it easier to open up – it’s somewhere that feels safe and secure.”
The brand new counselling pod was built after Derian House received a generous grant of £28,000 from the West Lancashire parish of the Mark Benevolent Fund.
Darren Coleman-Heald, Charities Manager at Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, said: “The Mark Benevolent Fund and all of our members are delighted with our continued association with Derian House. We hope that the funding for the counselling pods will go some way to easing stress and pain for children and their families. We hope the pods enhance the great service Derian House provides in the local area.”
Counselling sessions are free to families supported by the hospice, but it will cost £6million to run services at Derian House in 2023, and the charity relies on its kind-hearted supporters for 70p in ever £1.
Based in Chorley, the hospice cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.