Derian House 25th anniversary: New therapies and seaside room in Vinten Place

Katie McNally with therapists Lisa Kennedy, Charlotte Underwood and Emma Avhede in the health and wellbeing facility at Derian House
Katie McNally with therapists Lisa Kennedy, Charlotte Underwood and Emma Avhede in the health and wellbeing facility at Derian House
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Over the last 25 years Derian House has grown and developed into a vital service for children with life limiting conditions. The hospice continues to expand and welcomes its newest building, complete with a new seaside garden and therapy room. Natalie Walker speaks to the new wellbeing service leader about the latest additions to the service.

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One of the latest developments at Derian has been the creation of a space separate to the hospice, where parents and families can meet in a more relaxed

Katie McNally

Katie McNally


This new building was completed last year and has been named Vinten Place after its Life President, Miss Margaret Vinten.

The site includes a therapy suite, which offers complementary therapies to families.

Treatments available for families include: full body holistic massage; seated acupressure/chair massage; Indian head massage; face, neck and shoulder massage; hand and arm massage; leg and foot massage and Reiki healing.

The new seaside room

The new seaside room

This is provided to parents on Tuesdays and Thursdays by external firm Hällsa Wellbeing.

Katie McNally, wellbeing service leader at Derian House, said: “The stresses of life for the families with children and young people that access Derian can take its toll emotionally and physically.

“It is important they have the opportunity to relax and feel the benefit of something like this.

“The feedback from parents has been great - one parent said they could feel the weight lift from their shoulders and they have never felt so relaxed.

The new seaside room

The new seaside room

One lady had a sore back as her daughter is growing bigger and she has to lift her until they get a hoist. We gave her a back massage which took a bit of strain off her.

“It is hard enough being a parent but having a child with life limiting conditions causes extra stress and pressure.

“It has been emotional listening to the families. I have been given a fantastic job to provide these services for our families. These things can really make a difference.”

Charlotte Underwood, head of recruitment and training at Hällsa Wellbeing, said: “I am really looking forward to supporting the families. I have had lovely feedback from one of the families who tried this service.

“I am excited to be part of this. It is a real honour.”

Vinten Place also has a supervised play area whilst their parents get treatments, or socialise with others in a similar situation over a cup of tea in a safe and relaxed environment.

The theme of this new initiative is the seaside, created on the basis that many of the families will not have an opportunity to visit the seaside, so the seaside has come to them.

The Seaside Room has been decorated pale blues and greys to reflect a New England style and this is set to be extended to the outside play area, where work is already underway.

This spacious new area will have decking with a seating area for parents to supervise their little ones as they enjoy the many play areas.

The design will feature a sea, beach and horizon, a play boat deck, a sandpit, and a summer house.

There will be paved and gravel walkways and fencing will create separate distinct areas, with boulders and seaside themed-plants for added sensory interest. The garden will even have its own sails, designed to provide shady spots on hot summer days.