Having a child with a life-limiting illness can happen to anyone – and when it does, it is absolutely devastating. Imagine being told there is no cure and
no-one knows how long your child will live, only that they will need constant round-the-clock care...
Julia Perks was a dedicated paediatric nurse whose dream was to develop a support network for families struggling to care for a life-limited child without any help or respite.
Although Julia’s House is named after Julia Perks, it was her friend Mike Wise who founded the charity. Julia sadly died of cancer before she could make her dream a reality but Mike, along with a small group of supporters, took up the baton and got the whole charity off the ground through fundraising and then employing the first two community nurses. He continued to tirelessly fundraise in order to build a dedicated Dorset hospice. After playing an active role in Julia’s House for more than a decade, Mike is retired from the Board of Trustees but remains our Life President.
The Foundation’s original intention was to raise enough money to build a children’s hospice but in order to start supporting families as early as possible, the fledgling charity launched a small community care service, employing two nurses to offer families respite in their own homes. Those nurses are still working for Julia’s House – as our Directors of Care – and 60 per cent of our care is still community-based, but today our service is changing lives across the whole of Dorset – and into Wiltshire.
“A wonderful, much-loved local charity. Imagine what life would be like for families if Julia’s House didn’t exist.”
Martin Clunes OBE, Julia's House Patron
Three years ago, we launched a small home-based respite care service to families of life-limited children in south Wiltshire. Despite living just a few miles over the Dorset border, where we have provided our award-winning care for more than a decade, these families had no access to frequent support.
We decided that Wiltshire needed a hospice, somewhere children could come and play in an environment tailored specifically for them, and in May 2017 we were pleased to open Julia’s House Devizes, the first children’s hospice in Wiltshire. By opening a dedicated children’s hospice in the heart of the county we will finally be able to support families across the whole county.