Demelza Soft Play 170907 (3)

Refurbished Demelza Soft Play Opens Thanks to Football Family Project


On the 7th of September 2017, Demelza Hospice Care for Children wanted to say a big thank you to those involved in a special project which took place at their Hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent. An ongoing partnership with teams and leagues across grassroots football, headed up by the Kent FA and Kent Schools FA which saw Demelza’s Soft Play Room refurbished, after ten years of service to the children and families they support.

When a child is born with a life-limiting or life-threatening illness it is impossible to say how long they might live for, only that their life will be cut short.

Demelza, who are a children’s hospice charity in the south-east of the UK, provide unrivalled care and support for seriously ill babies, children, young people and their families, across East Sussex, Kent and South East London.

They provide many different therapy services to enable children to express themselves in new ways, explore their emotions and to play in a safe environment. With various levels of care provided at their hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent, a very important project has been underway.

Demelza’s soft play room is one of these very special therapy spaces. It was funded over 10 years ago and has been enjoyed by hundreds of children and families since its construction in 2005.

Due to the large amounts of use from all the many children who have used it over the years and with new sensory equipment coming out all the time, the play space had since become quite dated from all use and enjoyment. So in 2014, Demelza proposed this amazing project to the Kent FA and Kent Schools FA, where they saw incredible synergy between the services they provide on a daily basis

A few weeks’ later things were agreed and teams promptly set out on a fantastic objective to give the room a touch of love again, whilst promoting grassroots football and creating much needed community contacts such as Kent Reliance in the process.

Three years on, on 7 September 2017, Demelza proudly reopened the soft play room doors to a refresh of colourful wall paint, brand new soft play equipment and a very special magic carpet projector which includes a variety of interactive games, all provided by the over £25,000 of support fundraised by these amazing people. These sensory items are priceless to the children and families they support, particularly those children with very limited mobility and speech who aren’t able to communicate and play in conventional ways.

Ryan Campbell, Demelza CEO said, “We wanted to say a huge thank you to those who have been involved in this incredible project. It has been a real pleasure working with all of the clubs, leagues and people who have got behind our partnership with the Kent FA and Kent Schools FA, making new community links and bringing everyone together for one aim – improving the soft play room at Demelza Kent in order to improve the lives of those children and families that we care for.”

The evening welcomed guests from across Kent grassroots football clubs and leagues as well as lead members from the Kent FA, Kent School FA and Kent Reliance who kindly sponsored the evening and all of the Kent FA County Cups. With no one from their side of the partnership having seen the room since the partnership began those years ago, they were all quite excited to see the incredible difference their hard efforts had achieved. With Demelza’s CEO holding the scissors to proudly open the room again to families under their care; it was evident how much this project meant to those involved.

Paul Dolan, Kent FA Chief Executive and Director said, “When we started the charity partnership with Demelza in 2014, we never would have imagined that we would have come as far as we have. Our aims in the beginning were to promote grassroots football, encourage participation and build community links. Over the course of the last few years, we not only have achieved this, but have made good friends along the way and supported the refurbishment of an amazing cause in the process.”

Children and families under Demelza’s care will now be able to benefit fully from this amazing project, which times perfectly with the charities 20th year anniversary coming up in 2018.

Find out more about Demelza at, follow the charity on Facebook at or @demelzahospice on Twitter.