The H-Word exhibition

Why these photographs are so important and where in Ipswich you can see more of them

An unprecedented and innovative attempt to address worrying misconceptions about children’s hospice care begins in Ipswich later this month, when photographs taken by five parents who receive support from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) go on display in Ipswich.

The H-Word exhibition is the culmination of a series of workshops the parents have taken part in to explore what EACH and the word ‘hospice’ means to them, how this may have changed over time and to express that visually through photography.

The idea for this came about after a UK-wide survey conducted in 2017 found over a quarter of respondents did not understand what children’s palliative care meant or what children’s hospices were for.

Rachel Wright, EACH Family Communications Co-ordinator, said: “We hear time and time again that the word ‘hospice’ is a barrier for families eligible for our service. Research shows there is a lot of stigma and fear around the word, and myths and misunderstanding abound.

“This exhibition showcases the realities of children’s hospice care through the eyes of those who have first-hand experience and we hope it’ll be a good start to dispelling all that.

“In any case, it’ll be a really proud moment for the amazing parents who have worked really hard on making this project a success.”

The parents who have taken photographs are Charlotte Markham, from Kesgrave, whose son Elliot sadly died after just a few hours in 2012; Nikki, from Ipswich, Louise Ormrod, from Colne Engaine and Sophie Munnery, from Dovercourt, who all have children currently receiving care from EACH; and Claudia Kelly, whose family has accessed support from EACH.

Charlotte said: “When we went to look around The Treehouse it was a totally different experience to what we expected. We were made to feel that our son Elliot mattered, his life mattered, he was important, they would care for us and him. Our initial perception of what EACH was from the outside was so wrong.”

The H-Word has received positive feedback from other children’s hospices around the country and, if well received in Ipswich, EACH hopes to take the exhibition on tour around the rest of the region.

For now, it will run from Tuesday, 18 June to Thursday, 27 June at the Whistler Gallery of DanceEast, in Foundry Lane. It is sponsored by print group Healeys, a long-standing EACH supporter.

People will be able to visit from 9am to 9.30pm, Monday to Thursday, 9am to 7pm on the Friday, 9am to 6pm on the Saturday and 10am to 5pm on the Sunday. Those who bring a smartphone or tablet and headphones will be able to listen to interviews with the photographers whilst viewing the pictures. For more information visit www.each.org.uk/thehword.

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