Our innovative community project, RocON!, brings young people, patients, carers, bereaved relatives and volunteers together providing benefit to all involved.

“The project has given me hope and, it’s given me friendship. The kids bring such simple joy, triggering good memories from my own childhood. Listening to how they simplify life keeps me grounded.”  - (patient)

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By joining up with local schools and introducing children to the work of St. Rocco’s, RocON! has had a marked impact on the psychological and emotional care of our patients, as well as laying the foundations to improve access to care and enable us to engage with more people in the community who might benefit from our care. It has also been well supported by bereaved relatives who return as volunteers to support the children and patients.

The pioneering approach brings children and young people into St. Rocco’s to work alongside patients and carers. Whilst death is acknowledged, the focus is always on life- and on how to live as fully as possible with the challenges that we each face. Each project is bespoke to the school and the year group and is often interwoven with an aspect of the PHSE curriculum being taught at the time.

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(Quote from Headteacher)

"The children learned not to be fearful of any kind of illness, whether it be minor or life-limiting. It really brought the values curriculum to life for them. The interaction the children have with each other has also benefitted from their involvement with RocON! They are tolerant and respectful and very aware of each other’s needs."

The project has been running since 2015 and in that time over 500 children have taken part. The patients involved are a mixed group of ages and genders, with varying needs and at varying stages of illness. Each one has found comfort, validation, and often joy, in their involvement.

The children, who have ranged in age from six to 17, learn about palliative care from patients themselves and by meeting staff, visiting in-patient rooms and handling equipment. 

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It is clear that patients have a need to feel validated and central to society, despite their illness. Being involved in the RocON! project enables them to move from the role of a patient being cared for, to a valued part of a team that is ‘giving something back’ and benefitting others.

Many of the patients involved in the projects are able to open up to the children in a way they are unable to with family or friends. As a result, they have fed back that their involvement has made it easier to talk to their own children/grandchildren about their illness, and the realities of what the future may hold.

The project takes St. Rocco’s into the heart of the community. Like ripples on a pond, these children go home and talk to their parents, family members and friends, challenging misconceptions that may exist around hospice care. 

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(Quote from parent)

"The emphasis seemed to be on how to live well although, death was acknowledged. I realised how important it is not to shy away from talking about difficult subjects"

To find out more about the project, please call Jan Temenos on 01925 575780 or email jantemenos@stroccos.org.uk 

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