Sovereign is a proud supporter of our local community, donating over £7.9 million to health and wellbeing causes over the last 12 years, through our Community Programme. One organisation to receive our support is Boston Spa-based Martin House, who provide hospice care for children and young people. Since 2001, Sovereign has supported Martin House with donations totalling £62,500.

Here, Martin House explains what it takes for them to provide excellent care to children and young people of Yorkshire.

Martin House is a place to live, have fun, relax, and make memories. We make a real difference to people’s lives – but it isn’t simple. Since 1987 we have supported thousands of families across West, North and East Yorkshire.

About Martin House Hospice

Every year we care for more than 420 children and young people with life-limiting conditions – which means they are not expected to live beyond young adulthood – along with supporting more than 150 bereaved families. Martin House also hosts one of only three specialist training places in the UK for consultants in paediatric palliative medicine, alongside placements in London (Great Ormond Street Hospital) and Cardiff.

Many of the children we care for have complex, sometimes undiagnosed conditions. Our care encompasses the whole family throughout the child’s life and beyond; in bereavement support, families often remain in our care for many years.

Our approach is holistic and family-led; our hospice at Boston Spa, near Leeds, not only offers home-from-home respite stays, but emergency care and symptom control, along with end of life care. In total, we have nine bedrooms in Martin House, and six in Whitby Lodge, which cares for teenagers and young people. All of this is provided at no cost to any of the families using our services.

What does it take to provide this care?

It takes a dedicated 200-strong care team of specialist palliative care doctors and consultants, psychologists, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, music therapists, artists-in-residence, a chaplain and bereavement counsellors; all bringing their expertise to ensure children’s needs are met. The hospice is open 24/7, and our doctors are always on call to help families in need of advice and support.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, we provided more than 2,500 nights of care to children and young people, with over 3,000 overnight stays for parents, brothers and sisters. For parents who are often caring for poorly children around the clock, that means the precious chance for a good night’s sleep.

Our community team gave nearly 2,800 hours of care at home, and we provided 969 hours of bereavement support to families, including one-to-one counselling and group sessions for parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.

In the hospice, our artists-in-residence spent 1,606 hours creating art with children and making memory items for bereaved families, while children and young people enjoyed 1,971 hours of music therapy.

On top of this, there are thousands of home-cooked meals made by our chefs and volunteers, enabling families to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal together; and dozens of days out, taking children on trips to the seaside, cinema and many other places. These are things most of us can take for granted, but which can be a huge challenge for families.

The cost of providing this care isn’t cheap. We currently need more than £8 million a year to run Martin House, and nearly 90 per cent of that comes from voluntary contributions and fundraising. Only a small fraction of our costs is met from statutory sources.

Our fundraising team has a mammoth task each year, and work with a huge range of people, including community groups, schools, individuals and businesses, like Sovereign Health Care, along with organising our own events to raise that much needed money.

We also have a chain of 13 charity shops across our region, run with the help of around 300 volunteers – plus more people volunteering at the hospice and in the community to support us.

This is what it takes to run Martin House. If you would like to find out more about Martin House, and how you can support our work, visit

To find out more about our Community Programme, visit

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