HOSPICE Casa Sperantei opened Romania's first respite and therapy centre for children living with rare or life-limiting illness

Hospice Casa Sperantei opened the first dedicated respite and therapy centre for children with rare or life-limiting illness on Friday 21st September. The centre will care for children and support their families.

View of Copaceni 

Services Offered

Services will include a 12-bed respite unit, emergency accommodation for families facing homelessness and therapies, both standard and innovative. The centre includes a “Tech House” which uses technology as a form of therapy, meaning the new centre is a unique project not just in Romania but right across the region. In addition, the centre will house an educational centre, a day care centre for occupational therapies, a sensory room, a summer camp building and a family therapy centre.

When the centre is fully operational respite care will be offered to some 200 children a year. Two thousand outpatient and therapy sessions will be provided annually and approximately 300 children will enjoy a week’s relaxation and fun at Hospices of Hope’s summer camps.

Guests at the opening ceremony 

Supporters raise 1.7 million euros for the project

Sponsors and supporters of the charity donated 1.7 million euros to allow building work to take place. The buildings at the site were in a poor state of repair when the property was donated and have undergone a detailed renovation process.

The Florescu family made the project possible

Copaceni is in a picturesque location near Bucharest.  The Florescu family donated its summer estate to Hospice Casa Sperantei so that it could be converted into a centre to help children affected by rare or life-limiting illnesses such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis or cancer. John and Radu Florescu said of the project

On behalf of our family, we would like to congratulate Graham Perolls and his amazing team for having taken on the Copaceni project. The road was longer and the hill was steeper than we realised and there were many unforeseen obstacles on the way. But the result is that young Romanians who courageously live with illness will have a better life, and our satisfaction is beyond words.  

Graham Perolls spoke of the gratitude he felt for the donation

Graham Perolls, CMG. OBE, Founder of Hospices of Hope and President of Hospice Casa Sperantei  

I fell in love with the Manor at Adunatii Copaceni the first time I saw it. As I drove up towards it, through fields full of wild flowers, I could almost visualise our child patients sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful nature all around. I could hardly believe that the Florescu family were offering to give their former summer residence to our charity to help sick and vulnerable children. Six years later, the Manor House has been restored to its former glory and is now ready to receive children and families that have been affected by life limiting illnesses and need the special type of care that Hospice Casa Sperantei can offer. Friday 21st September was a day of celebration to acknowledge the incredible generosity of all the donors that have made this exciting new project possible.

 President of Hospice Casa Sperantei, Mirela Nemtanu commented

This day is a special day for HOSPICE and for paediatric hospice care. The first respite and therapy centre in Romania for children with life-limiting or rare illness and their families is a unique project not only in this country but in the region, and we are very grateful to all those who have helped us to bring this project to life. The renovation of such beautiful buildings, which were in such poor condition, was a great challenge, but with the help of sponsors and supporters, we have brought the Florescu’s family estate to life, it is a superb heritage building.

We are still only halfway there - we still need support. We have completed the building works, and started equipping the centre, buying drugs, training employees, etc. We hope that through this centre we will make every day count for those who will find here accommodation and treatment, as well as a home for their families. 

Mirela Nemtanu, CEO Hospice Casa Sperantei, with a child patient

The future

HOSPICE Casa Sperantei wants Copaceni to become a centre of excellence in world paediatric palliative care as soon as possible. The charity is still raising funds for medical equipment, drug purchases and employee training and ongoing costs with an annual operating cost estimated at 400,000 euros. Companies and individual donors who want to support this can find additional information below.

HE Dan Mihalache Romanian Ambassador to Britain

Background to the estate

It unknown who designed the buildings at Copaceni or who originally owned it but the construction date is believed to be 1897. The mansion was bought in 1920 by Richard Soepkez, the CEO of Marmorosch Blank. Soepkez spent his summers at the mansion with his grandchildren Radu Niculae Alexandru Richard (b: 1925) and Yvonne (b: 1926). The property passed into the hands of the Florescu family until 1939 when the communist regime took it over.

Yvonne (Sister John the Baptist) travelled from Kent to attend the opening ceremony and she cut the ribbon with Miruna, one of our young patients.  

Sister St John the Baptist 

 

The development

The refurbished main building at Copaceni

Casa Florescu is a small manor house that the charity has transformed into a 12-bed respite unit for children living with rare or life-limiting illness and their families. The children will be able to stay at the centre for short periods of time giving their parents or carers some respite. The purpose of this residential unit is to improve the children’s physical health and to help with psychological and emotional issues.

The Annexe has been transformed into an assessment unit for the children, a therapy centre, a special needs school and a sensory room.

The Barn will host the educational centre for both healthcare professionals and families whose members are affected by a rare or life-limiting illness.  There is also the innovative Tech House therapy centre, where children will benefit from the latest forms of technology therapy.

The Chapel building was the first refurbished building, becoming the base for the charity’s summer camps for children. The camps are to give holidays to the charity’s paediatric patients, children whose relatives are cared for by the Hospice and children who have suffered the bereavement of a close relative.

The Granary includes 6 flats and 2 studios for families with a sick child needing urgent temporary accommodation.

 

If you would like to help

There are still some naming rights available – details are attached. For further information please contact [email protected]

Alternatively our Copaceni House Warming Appeal is equipping Copaceni.