A grieving couple who lost their child have formally opened a new bereavement suite at the hospice where their daughter was cared for before she died.

Many families revisit Noah’s Ark Children's Hospice in Barnet following the death of a child, where they can feel close to their memory.

But for some, returning to the hospice itself can be painful.

So the idea for a separate place outside, away from the main building, came from Andrea and Costel, whose daughter rested in Noah Ark’s ‘Butterfly’ bereavement suite after she died in hospital in 2022.

“We had a hard time coming into the building where we used to visit our daughter,” Costel said.

“I tried not to look that way every time we came in, hoping I wouldn’t remember that sweet smell that used to be in the room where she rested.

“We found it hard to return to the building and sometimes it meant we wouldn’t come.”

The Cabin is next to a small nature reserve in the hospice grounds, providing a calm space for families to have therapy sessions with the specialist bereavement team.

The children’s hospice paid for the new building with a £40,000 ‘building legacy’ grant from Morrison’s supermarket.

Bereavement co-ordinator Carys Williams said: “Returning to The Ark after the death of a child can be too distressing for grieving parents. Having this external space is valuable.”

The ‘building legacy’ fund helps children’s hospices like Noah’s Ark with renovations, creating outdoor spaces and therapy equipment to ensure families get support in a comforting environment after a child has died.

It is a partnership with with the charity Together for Short Lives, which helps families with terminally-ill children.

Nick Carroll from the charity Together for Short Lives said: “The Cabin at Noah’s Ark will make a huge difference in supporting grieving families.”

Noah’s Ark helps children and young people with life-limiting or threatening conditions and supports their families to make the most of every day. It organises activities and days out, helping youngsters “enjoy life as children” rather than just being ‘patients’.