'They're like angels': Local children's hospice a 'lifeline' for mother during darkest days of lockdown

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford

(All footage taken inside the home was filmed by the family)

A mother from Witney in Oxfordshire says her local children's hospice has given her hope and a vital lifeline during some of the darkest days of lockdown.

Leanne Godfrey and her daughter Lily Mae, 8, have not been outside for nearly a year. It is the isolating reality for so many families throughout this pandemic.

I have said a million times they're like angels. If they weren't there, a lot of parents wouldn't be able to cope.

Leanne Godfrey, Lily Mae's mother

Lily Mae has Rett syndrome, a life-limiting condition, which means she is non-verbal, non-mobile, has seizures and cannot eat normally.

Her mother Leanne describes the condition as being "trapped in a baby's body".

Leanne Godrey with her daughter Lily Mae

The condition makes Lily Mae extremely vulnerable to Covid-19, which is why they must stay at home to stay safe.

However, it means the family relies on the care provided by staff at local hospice Helen and Douglas House.

We are giving a lot more support at home now than we ever were. They have to do all sorts of things that we would normally do as nurses so I think as well as giving them the support for managing symptoms at home and medication at home, we often are just an ear so they really appreciate having someone they can sit and talk to.

Becky Davis, Outreach Nurse Specialist, Helen & Douglas House

Due to the lockdowns, caused by the pandemic, families do not have their usual sources of support.

Leanne says regular visits from staff at Helen & Douglas House has been a "lifeline"

Becky Davis, an outreach nurse specialist at Helen and Douglas House, says it makes families feel "imprisoned in their own homes".

I am a single parent so it's me, myself and Lily Mae. There is no other parent here to help which is hard, exhausting, mentally and physically.

Leanne Godfrey, Lily Mae's mother

More than 85% of the charity's annual turnover is supported by charitable donations from the public, but with their shops closed at the moment, it has put pressure on the charity to raise finances elsewhere.

The charity has set up a special fundraising campaign called Show a Little Love to ensure they can continue their vital work.