Children’s hospice gets a taste of tea at The Dorchester 

The hotel put on a lavish spread for children, families and staff, including a visit from Santa

Children and families tuck into a lavish spread in a bright and airy room
The Dorchester came to The Ark

The Dorchester hotel, one of London’s most distinguished and iconic hotels, held an afternoon tea for children and families supported by Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. 

The event was held at the charity’s state-of-the-art hospice building, The Ark, in Chipping Barnet.  

Twenty members of The Dorchester team from across the hotel volunteered their time to create a magical atmosphere at the hospice for the families present, including  a special visit from Santa, who took time out of his busy December schedule to visit the children supported by the Hospice. 

Adam, aged six, and his parents, Imran and Ambreen, who have been supported by Noah’s Ark since 2021, attended the event with their family. Imran said: “This has been a really special event. Adam was completely enchanted by The Dorchester’s pianist, looking over whenever she paused waiting for her to start playing again. We’ve seen how much music means to Adam at The Ark, so today was no different.” 

Adam has a rare genetic condition – so rare that it was only discovered two years after he was born. He is non-verbal and non-mobile. Mum Ambreen said: “He communicates in his own way – we are never not sure what he is trying to say. Noah’s Ark always focus on what he can do, rather than what he can’t and help him express himself through art, music and special technology. Adam’s confidence has grown so much since we’ve been coming here. 

“Noah’s Ark was a lifeline to us, at a time when I was at rock bottom. The Ark is a safe space for us to be completely ourselves as a family – full of a community of people who understand what we are going through.” 

Ruby, aged five, and her parents Simon and Helen, who were first referred to Noah’s Ark this year, also enjoyed the afternoon tea together. Simon said: “All of the staff from The Dorchester have been so incredibly kind and accommodating for all the families. It’s just been such a lovely day together as a family.”

Ruby has Rett syndrome, a rare genetic condition that impacts the way her brain develops. Because of this she struggles with her motor skills and her ability to communicate. Ellie, Play Specialist at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, has supported Ruby using eye-gaze technology so she can start to communicate her wants, needs and feelings independently – she’s come on leaps and bounds in the last year. 

Ruby even used the technology to make a list of her favourite people. Simon shared her final list: “She picked Mummy, Daddy… and Ellie! From the first session with Ellie, they clicked so well, and Ruby felt like, wow, someone finally understands me – it’s wonderful.”

The event concluded with an afternoon tea sitting for members of the Noah’s Ark team, who provide care for over 350 children and families a year. Clare Gell, Director of People, said: “We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible team, so I’m overwhelmed that The Dorchester staff volunteered their time to show our team how special they are. It was wonderful to be able to sit down together and take the time to reflect on all that’s happened this year – we are so grateful that The Dorchester were able to give us that time.” 

As well as these magical experiences, a corporate partnership between The Dorchester hotel and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice will help raise vital funds to support the charity.

Sophie Andrews OBE, CEO of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, echoed these sentiments: “We are immensely thankful for the support from The Dorchester hotel. Their commitment to bringing a touch of Dorchester magic to The Ark was truly heart-warming and helped create memories that will last a lifetime.”

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