Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund (Polegate)
5 Western Avenue, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6EP Tel: 01323 488561 Registered Charity No.1110644

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About Us

CWCF was formed in July 1998 and is made up of a small voluntary group of family and friends with the main thought being to enable the children, and families of the children with cancer, to have a quality of life that we would hope to have ourselves. Most of the time it means giving them treats or buying them something they have missed out on, normally due to the fact that their money has been spent fighting the illness or burning up petrol going to and from the hospital for treatment.

CWCF is now a registered charity. We are supported by many and, although we are not religious based, we are supported by many of the local churches. We are also no politically minded yet all the various parties have made small donations in different ways. We are not directed by ourselves, we are directed by the wishes and guidance of the families and nurses that we support but without your support we could not have that direction. So to all those that give CWCF our direction, and those that believe in our dream of helping children and their families who are suffering from, or have suffered from cancer, a very big THANK YOU!

Most of our referrals come directly to us through the community nurses and social workers who are treating the child. After we have introduced ourselves we have a talk with the family about their wishes.

Over the years we have gone from strength to strength granting wishes such as laptops, trips, theatre breaks, football tickets, bedroom makeovers, providing cookers, dishwashers - the list goes on! In addition to individual wishes we now annually take a number of families away for a short break, over recent years to the Isle Of Wight. We also have two ten berth caravans where families can go on holiday. We organise numerous outings for all our families which gives them the opportunity to get together with others going through similar experiences and allows them to form friendships and build support networks.

The only reason that we have been able to accomplish all of this is because the local community has supported us so well, and we are are forever grateful for this.

How were we set up?CWCF Team

Four of us, Chris and Ursula Downton, Kirsty Jones & James Denny, were sitting in a pub and decided that we needed something to do.  All of us were involved in Eastbourne's Hospital Radio and we had also helped to set up the Polegate Carnival but wanted our own project.  It had to be something that we all believed in so one by one we went around the table and said what we felt true conviction for.  Two main things came out of the conversation; they were children and cancer, so from then on the Children With Cancer Fund was born. That was in July 1998.   We adopted a logo that we thought fitted what we do, hence a jolly child dancing and a sick child with a thermometer in his mouth. 

Chris & Ursula are married to each other, Kirsty is Ursula's sister and James was Kirsty's fiancé.  We all worked together as a team but for the sake of the bank and other institutes we decided to have named positions.  Chris became Chairman, with James as vice chairman, Kirsty became the secretary and Ursula took on the job of treasurer.

Who else?

It is not only the four of us. Behind us, and without whom we could not do what we do, is a great bunch of family and friends.  They span from young to the more mature but again they all love doing what we do and believe in the end result, making the quality of life a bit better for the children and their families we help.

The snowball effect started happening.  As we did events to raise money the press picked up on it, we also did some radio promotions telling people what we were going to do.  After helping the Oncology/Family Room and sending Gemma with her family away to Euro Disney things began to take off.  People in the surrounding area saw where their money had gone and liked it.  The comments we were getting were, you are local and are doing it for love and not monetary reward.  Our reply to that is, “you only get out of life what you put into it”. 

We then started coming up against RED TAPE, it was frustrating to know that there were children out there but we were unable to contact them.  Luckily for us we were put in touch with Louise Pike, the local children's community nurse, who works with the children in their own homes.  We asked her if she would, in her general conversation with the families, mention us and see if there was any way that we could help them.  Thankfully both her and her bosses agreed to this request and a great working partnership began to unfold.
One of our projects has been to raise £1000 and buy Louise a Syringe Pump.  This is a piece of equipment that allows her to administer drugs to children over a long period of time, but in the comfort of the child's own home.  “The pump takes away the necessity for the children to go into hospital, which makes their lives, as well as their families lives, much easier”, said Louise.


As things moved on and CWCF got a bit bigger we drew up a Constitution.  This would be available to anyone who helped us or took an interest in what we did.  The idea was to become a registered charity for which a constitution was a necessity.  James and Kirsty got married and their jobs in London meant they had to move, but they still come and help at larger events and have a say in what we do.  In their place have stepped Maggie Barnett (Secretary) and Ashley Ireland (Vice Chairman).

We received the paperwork from the Charity Commission and set about filling in the forms.  Whilst doing so we spoke to other groups that had been down the same road and soon realised just what was involved.  Several groups said that if they could get out of the registered system they would and that unless we had someone who could spend a lot of time filling out the returns, writing letters and lots of other tasks we should think very hard about it. We are a small group of family, friends and neighbours with a simple aim.  None of us are paid and that was the real crunch; if we were to become a registered charity we would have to pay a solicitor to go through our books.  We already have an independent auditor who audits our books each year and that we thought was enough.  The spare time we have goes into fund-raising and if more time has to be taken out for more book work, who is going to suffer?  In our eyes it will be the children. Our books are there for the public to look at whenever they like.  After all they are the ones who give us the money which enables us to grant the wishes, so they are the people we have to answer to.

We are affiliated to 3VA, which is the Council for Voluntary Services for Eastbourne, Lewes District and Wealden, and to the Wealden Federation of Voluntary Organisations, and proud to be so. We also keep them updated on what we are doing, or have done. They are very supportive if we have any problems, and can normally point us in the direction of someone that can help if they cannot.

The story so far

The first project the Children With Cancer Fund undertook was to help the team who were trying to set up an Oncology/Family Suite on the Friston Ward at Eastbourne's District General Hospital. This Suite/Room accommodates very sick children and their family, whilst the child receives the specialist nursing care they require. It enables the family and child to spend this very difficult time together in an environment that is as comfortable as possible.

The second project was to help a young Polegate girl with her recovery from cancer. You can read more about her story if you visit Gemma's page.

The third project was a group of four different children; Leanne, Bryany, Nathan and a No Publicity child. Each of these children has their own page, just go to the top of the page and click 'The Children' link.  During this time we also granted a wish to Louise Pike the community Nurse.  She does sterling work with these children in their own homes and when she mentioned that a Syringe pump would save some children from going through the trauma of having to go into hospital we decided to get her one as a thank you from the children and from us for all her help. Below you can see Chris from C.W.C.F. presenting Louise with the pump.

  Chris Presents Pump To Louise  

Once we had completed all four children's wishes Louise gave us our next child. Kylie was from Hailsham, she has her own page off of 'The Children' page.

The next child to follow was a No Publicity child.  Please see the No Publicity page off of 'The Children' page.

Jack was our next child and what a pleasure it was making Jack and his family's wish come true.  See Jack's Story for full details.

Then there was another No Publicity child - the youngest child that we have helped yet at only two years old. Please see the No Publicity page off of 'The Children' page.

The next child is also a No Publicity and again thank you for understanding.

After this we were truly up and running, so next was Gemma & Leanne. As they are at the end of their treatment we are granting them another wish as a well done for getting through the tough time the whole family has had. See the girls own pages for the latest.

The children's page gets bigger and bigger but that's what we are here for.

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