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Noah’s Ark reception at No 10 Downing Street


Thursday 29 November, No 10 Downing Street hosted a reception to highlight the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice ‘Building The Ark’ campaign.

James Cleverly MP, Member of Parliament for Braintree and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, was the host.

Through the Building the Ark Campaign, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is raising the funds to build, fit out and sustain a state-of-the-art children’s hospice for the 21st Century. The Ark will open in spring 2019 and will serve North and Central London and Hertsmere. It will probably be the last children’s hospice to be built in the capital.  


There are over 1,200 babies and children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions in the area that Noah’s Ark serves, but until now, no children’s hospice building. The Ark will complement the charity’s existing Hospice-at-Home services, providing 24-hour end-of-life, post-death and bereavement care; overnight stays; and sensory, music and art rooms. It will include specialised care for new-born babies. The Ark will also be a hub for the community.  The building is set within a beautiful 7.5 acre nature reserve in Barnet and has already won two architectural design awards in 2018.

Dr Rachel Black, Director of Care at Noah’s Ark, said:


“We’re delighted to be in Downing Street to celebrate and share our plans with supporters and families. Our unique model of care places the young person at the heart of everything we do and our care services support the whole family. In designing The Ark we started by talking with families to create not only a building but also a service that provides what is needed and wanted in London. We have brought together clinical and social care in one hub.”

Ellie Northam, mother of Bella who was supported by Noah’s Ark, spoke about her family’s experiences at the Downing Street reception:


“Bella was born in 2004 and we were delighted. From early on we realised that she was not progressing like her elder brother Ben and we found ourselves in the bewildering world of hospitals, assessments and special needs support.


Bella was diagnosed with a severe form of muscular dystrophy in 2009.  We found Noah’s Ark at a point where we were totally overwhelmed by it all and were just existing from day to day, living in the moment.  Noah’s Ark immediately surrounded us in an enveloping hug and were there for our whole family. 


Bella died suddenly on Boxing Day 2015 and it ripped our family apart. Looking back to that awful day it would have been good for us to have a Bereavement Suite in The Ark to go to, to be surrounded by people who knew her, as well as family and friends who could have helped us process the shock of her death and the many decisions you have to make after death.”


Ru Watkins, CEO of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, said:


“Building The Ark has seen a unique collaboration of giants in the construction industry coming together to create a state-of–the-art building that will serve families across London. It The Ark will be hub of collaboration where NHS partners, third sector providers and the community will be working with Noah’s Ark to meet the needs of an ever growing population of babies, children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions, as well as supporting their families with clinical and social care. Ultimately The Ark will be a place where families will be able to be children and parents, not just patients and carers.”


Five Noah’s Ark families attended the 10 Downing Street event alongside Specialist Carers, members of the fundraising team, Trustees and major donors.


We are grateful to the many supporters who have so generously supported this project and provided the necessary funds to build and fit out The Ark and we are still raising money to ensure The Ark is sustained well into the future.