A different blog post from the usual but I really wanted to do everything I possibly can to help raise awareness of two fantastic organisations. Both are organisations that do wonderful work with families who have children with life shortening conditions.
Butterfly Wishes Network is a UK wide not-for-profit organisation which provides free professional photography for families with children with various life limiting or life shortening conditions. Butterfly Wishes was started by a group of photographers who met through social media, they wanted to use their skills to provide lasting memories for families who may not otherwise engage a professional photographer.
(Images above courtesy of Butterfly Wishes Network)
Along with almost 400 other professional photographers I volunteer my services for this fantastic organisation. My services have rarely been called on and when they have it’s been for families outside of Wiltshire. Of course I’m happy to travel and I would love to say I haven’t been needed more locally because there aren’t any families that qualify for a shoot but I know that isn’t true.
Some families may be concerned that the experience may be awkward or difficult but all Butterfly Wishes photographers are professional photographers and fully insured and they approach a Butterfly session with the same professionalism that they approach all their shoots. At the same time they are sensitive to the fact that a family may have some additional needs. Many people ask if there is a "catch" and I can say, hand on heart, there is no catch.
It's important for families to know that they only have to say and the Butterflies Network will not share the photos taken of their families on the Butterflies website. Of course it is always lovely when families kindly let us share on our website, but the most important thing, from the start to the end, is the family.
Many families just aren’t aware that Butterfly Wishes exists and this was the reason for my visit to Julia’s House children’s hospice in Devizes. Julia’s House is a truly inspiring space, they provide tailored care and support to children with serious medical conditions and their families. I visited to explain the service that is available from Butterfly Wishes and was given a tour of their amazing facilities by Ged Montgomery and Heather Philpotts
I’m delighted to know that Julia’s House will be telling all their families about Butterfly Wishes, and they will even allow families under their care at home to come into the hospice for their photo shoot if they prefer!
The saddest reason that many families don’t receive the services of a Butterfly Wishes photographer is that it’s simply left too late. I can’t stress how important it is not to wait until a child is receiving end of life treatment before applying to Butterfly Wishes. The volunteer photographers will do everything possible to fit in a Butterfly Photo Shoot in a short time frame but unfortunately sometimes it just isn’t possible. The Julia’s House staff will be helping to raise awareness that a family can apply for a Butterfly photographer at any time after a diagnosis and that it’s not a service that is only available in end of life care.
Wherever you are in the country, if you know a family with a child who has a life limiting condition or an organisation that supports these families, please tell them about Butterfly Wishes and pass on the details below.
And if you happen to be in Wiltshire or Dorset please make sure they are aware of the fantastic Julia’s House.
If you're a professional photographer and would like to gift your services as a Butterfly Wishes Network photographer then please check out the FAQ on the BWN website - the application form is on there too, and it's so easy to join. #payitforward