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Sam Merrick with his dad Paul
Sam Merrick with his dad Paul

Reminder from Portsmouth GP to get prescriptions before bank holiday

  • Sam’s Haven provides short breaks to families of children who are seriously-ill
  • But the popular charity is struggling because of a lack of volunteers
  • They are looking for people with a range of skills
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A CHARITY that provides much-needed breaks to seriously ill children has put out an urgent plea for volunteers.

Sam’s Haven was set up by the parents of Sam Merrick, a seven-year-old who has a chronic lung condition.

Often, during the busier months, we will find ourselves stretched over numerous events on the same day and it’s difficult to cover them all

Louise Merrick

On top of that, he has immunology problems and has no use of his oesophagus so must be fed directly into his stomach.

His body is unable to process food, so he does not get the nutrients he needs and is prone to regular serious infections, meaning he is constantly in and out of hospital.

The family, from Denmead, found the short breaks they had in a caravan in West Sussex provided the perfect respite for them.

And now they offer it them to children cared for at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, through their own luxury caravan.

But they are desperately in need of help from volunteers to run the charity.

Mum Louise, 37, of Bere Road, said: ‘Our main problem at the moment is volunteer hours.

‘We are struggling to manage with all the demands that comes with the charity as it grows.

‘Often, during the busier months, we will find ourselves stretched over numerous events on the same day and it’s difficult to cover them all.

‘Clearly with this and a family to manage we just don’t have enough people to fill the spaces.

‘We’re currently asking for people to step forward so we can fill the spaces to enable us to continue to offer these breaks away.’

A typical event for a 
volunteer to help with is manning an information stall.

The next is on February 1, at the main entrance of QA Hospital.

It is a meet and greet which Louise said is an invaluable way to spread the word about what the charity does.

Louise and husband Paul also need a hand marshalling events, book-keeping, leaflet drops, making cakes and wrapping presents.

She said: ‘We would love to hear from anyone who thinks they might be able to help us with any of those things.’

If you would like to find out more about the 
volunteering opportunities email samshavenqah@gmail.com or go to samshaven.com.