Sonning Common family call for donations for Helen House refurbishment

Dylan Jarvest, who attends Helen & Douglas House Hospice, pictured here in fancy dress. The Jarvest Family

A family from Sonning Common who visit Helen House are calling for donations in a final push to raise the remaining £500,000 of the £1.5m needed to refurbish Helen House to bring it up to modern standards.

Helen & Douglas House has received £436,000 from NHS England to do some of the work needed to future-proof the hospice, and the charity has raised £500,000 through donations made since the appeal was launched at the end of 2013. However, they need a further £500,000 to complete this essential work.

Over thirty years on from when they first opened their doors as the world’s first children’s hospice, the time has come to up-date-the facilities in line with modern standards.

Annabelle and Kevin Jarvest’s son Dylan, 7, has a neuro muscular disease and has been coming to Helen House for just over a year. The family along with brother Charlie, 13, live in Sonning Common.

Mum Annabelle said: “Dylan uses the playroom and gardens. He adores playing and water fights! His favourite things are to have a spa and music therapy. They are on top of his list and they help him express himself. He even made an original song for me recently; it was impressive. The spa is great for him to do hydro-exercise. It is such fun he doesn’t realise that it is exercise, not just play time.

“Helen House is such a wonderful place which the whole family enjoys coming to giving us vital help and support. However, it is now over 30 years old so it does need up-dating with improvements including piped oxygen in all the rooms and wider corridors and spaces so larger, modern wheelchairs and beds can be moved around. The spa, music, art and plays areas are places we spend time together and they along with the kitchen and dining areas do need updating. The refurbishment will also provide a new dedicated teaching space for children so they are able to continue their lessons during their stay. So please help by making a donation if you can.”

Janet Carruzzo the charity’s local Community Fundraiser said: “We would like to thank everyone who has made a donation so far to the Helen House Refurbishment Appeal but we do need to raise the final £500,000 by the end of the summer to complete the work to ensure our families from the Reading area can enjoy the most up-to-date facilities when the come and stay with us.”

Anyone wishing to donate money and help raise this final £500,000 should visit the charity’s website at, or contact the Fundraising Team by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or phone 01865 799150.