Today (Thursday 1 June), Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) launches its vision on how it will reach every family in Scotland who needs its care. Three children die each week in Scotland from a life-shortening condition and at present, CHAS only cares for one in three of those families. Reaching Every Family in Scotland, CHAS’ new strategy, sets out how it will reach them all.

Reaching Every Family in Scotland is a response to research carried out by the charity in 2015 which, for the first time, highlighted the full scale of the number of children in Scotland with life-shortening conditions and that thousands of families are not benefitting from the care that only CHAS can provide.

The new strategy will increase support for children under one years of age, where the greatest number of deaths occur; increase the psychological and practical support for the families, who can experience isolation, financial hardship and relationship breakdowns; support young adults to realise their ambitions and goals as they move from children’s to adult’s services and increase CHAS support in communities and hospitals across Scotland.

This will be achieved through the strategy’s four themes:

  • Reach – transforming care by reaching more babies, children and young people with palliative care needs across Scotland.
  • People – retaining and attracting quality staff and volunteers who will provide the highest standards of care throughout Scotland.
  • Growth – double its fundraising income to realise its ambition.
  • Influence – lead developments in paediatric palliative care through its research, advocacy and education.

Maria McGill, chief executive of CHAS, said:

“We now have enough detailed knowledge and data to understand where need is greatest and have created a three year plan that will help us to reach every family who needs us and to make life that little bit better for them.

“We believe that no family who is facing the heartbreak of losing a child should be without our support, but we cannot do this alone. We developed Reaching Every Family in consultation with individuals, organisations and most importantly the families we support and we will continue to work with them to deliver our vision.”

Adam’s mum, Lynne, said:

“CHAS has been there for us at the most challenging times and continues to be a massive support to our whole family. For us, CHAS quite simply enables us to have a rest. Adam always enjoys our time at Rachel House, we all do, it’s full of joy and the whole family can relax and have fun. Adam loves the jacuzzi and the multi-sensory room with lights and sounds where he gives the care team the biggest smiles.

“We’re delighted that Adam and his sisters have been given the opportunity to be part of shaping the future of CHAS, they had great fun getting creative and becoming designers for the day! I hope people across Scotland will show their support so that CHAS can continue to help families keep the joy alive at the most difficult times imaginable.”

Gordon Dickson, chairperson of CHAS, said:

“For over twenty years we have been caring for children and their families by offering palliative care, family respite and support.

“We know the difference our services have made to those families and that is why we are committed to reaching more children. 

“I am proud not only of our ambitious plan, but also of our compassionate and skilled staff, who provide the highest levels of care and support. I believe that, through this plan, we will continue to improve palliative care for children in Scotland.”

CHAS cares for families and their babies, children and young people by offering palliative care, family respite and support at its two hospices, Rachel House and Robin House. Its CHAS at Home team brings its services to families’ homes throughout the whole of Scotland. CHAS also works in communities and hospitals across Scotland.

Alongside the strategic plan, CHAS has also launched its Keep the Joy Alive fundraising campaign, which will double the charity’s income to help it care for more families.

Copies of the CHAS Plan 2017-2020 are available at


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