The Trust was set up in 2002 under its original name, The Bloemfontein Hospice Trust, with the objective of relieving sickness and advancing education in the Free State province of South Africa, through the support of hospices providing palliative care, outreach and training in the region.
Since 2002 the Trust has raised more than £150,000 (ZAR 2 million) to fund its objective, and has developed a particularly close working relationship with Sunflower Children's Hospice in Bloemfontein, the first and only children's hospice in the Mangaung region of the Free State province. Established in 1998 by medical professionals and members of the local community who recognised both the severe need for additional care for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and the unique palliative needs of children, Sunflower Children's Hospice has provided care to more than 7,000 children through its in-patient and home-based care facilities. Sunflower House, the hospice's in-patient facility situated in the grounds of the National District Hospital in Bloemfontein, provides 24 hour care for those most in need of it, in a caring, supportive, happy and, above all, safe environment. Each of the bright sunflowers painted on the wall of the house represents a child who has stayed at the house and passed away. And that gesture epitomises the whole approach of the charity - though death and suffering are an unavoidable part of their work and their worlds, what defines them is the desire to bring happiness and colour to each child's life. You can find out more about the work of Sunflower Children's Hospice here.
In additional to raising funds, the Trust is proud to raise awareness in the UK of Sunflower Children's Hospice and its work, and also provides advisory, administrative and spiritual support to the hospice as needed. The trustees and friends of the charity in the UK make regular trips to Bloemfontein to see how funds raised in the UK have been spent, support ongoing initiatives, discuss current challenges with local management and staff, and of course play with the children!
To properly reflect the Trust's relationship with Sunflower Children's Hospice and the trustees' intention to focus their efforts on raising funds and awareness for this particular charity, in 2017 the name of the Trust was changed to Sunflower Children's Hospice Trust.