I am the new Chief Executive here at Rainbows. A seasoned nurse with lots of palliative care experience. I thought I was emotionally prepared as I embarked on my new career… nothing could prepare me for my Rainbows moments. 

We care for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses and their families, and I have felt really humbled as I have got to know them.  From my first ‘Rainbows cuddle’ with a very new baby, to the cheeky grins, jokes and pranks of our teenagers – failing to remember all their names cost me £3 in the tuck shop!  The little girl who now thinks of me as Auntie Dee. To a mother’s heart rendering description of how her son becomes weightless in the hydrotherapy pool. The relaxation can be seen across his face… until his big brother jumps in swimming and splashing, then the giggles take over. Until then I had never really grasped how important and therapeutic sibling play is for all the family. 

Then there are the staff too many to mention. From volunteers to fundraisers, receptionists to secretaries, finance officers to cleaners and all the clinical team. Everyone here at Rainbows, whatever their role, is committed to doing the best we can for our children and young people. The diversity of the work we do is the jewel in the crown and yet to be fully discovered. From toddlers to young people no one day is the same.  It might be a mixture of breakfast and school, helping children with eating and drinking, managing symptoms or distress and supporting families. That support continues after a child dies. I expected the bereavement support, but I wasn’t aware that many children start their final journey from here. Throughout all of this staff give 150% and Rainbows is a happy place full of joy and laughter. 

These special moments for our children and young people are built on the support we get from our supporters and their generosity, including our volunteers. Over 300 people give their time to help us. There isn’t a single element of what we do that volunteers don’t help us with and we celebrated their work on volunteer week with a special event. 

So, one month in, through those Rainbows moments I have learnt a lot about the enormity and importance of the work we do. My job is to make sure we are right for today and ready for tomorrow. Over the next few months the Rainbows team will be setting out our ambitions for the next five years and we will share all of this with you. 

But, above all, I wanted to say a big thank you to all those people I have met and experiences made during my initial Rainbows moment.