There are few roles Bluebell Wood’s new Director of Care Sarah Hawkhead has not undertaken in her distinguished career in health and social care, something that’s given her a valuable insight into the importance of every single role in an organisation.

Starting out as a cleaner at Bupa, Sarah quickly realised she had a passion for helping those who often struggled to find support elsewhere. At the suggestion of a colleague she moved into a support worker role, and it was then that she discovered the passion that would define her career.

“I remember, very early on, meeting a child with cerebral palsy and I felt we just had a natural connection,” said Sarah.

“I feel like my passion and purpose for health and social care began there, and it has only grown and developed ever since.”

The encounter inspired Sarah to join the well-respected Hollybank Trust – a charity that works to enrich the lives of children and adults with complex disabilities – where she built a successful career over the next 18 years. At the Trust Sarah undertook various care, clinical and senior management roles, often studying alongside her day job to achieve a host of qualifications including a First Class degree in Nursing. Sarah’s drive is matched only by her passion for her work; something she felt instantly as she arrived at Bluebell Wood for the first time.

“The minute I walked through the doors at Bluebell Wood I felt that same passion that I felt when I started out in health and social care,” said Sarah.

“I feel incredibly lucky and proud to be a part of such an amazing team and I am genuinely  passionate about improving the provision we offer to children, young people and their families.

“It takes a special sort of person to work at a children’s hospice and I’m already very impressed by our highly skilled and dedicated staff who go above and beyond every day to make sure the families who need us have the best possible support.

“Considering my background and experience, it just feels like a natural fit for me. I may not have been here long but I’ve enjoyed every minute so far - and I’ve already been lucky enough to see some of Bluebell Wood’s renowned magic in action.

“Just last week, as the sky was blue and the sun was shining, we blanketed the gardens in ‘snow’ which made for a very special afternoon for the children who were visiting the hospice for respite care.”

Sarah is acutely aware that she’s joining the charity after what’s been a challenging couple of years, but is very much looking forward to what lies ahead.

“I know Bluebell Wood, like most charities, has faced many challenges throughout the pandemic, but we’re very much focused on the future.

“We know that Covid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so we have to learn to live with it, while making sure we can deliver our services and provision for children and families in a safe way.”

In her spare time Sarah is a keen walker and also enjoys yoga and spending time with family and friends. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Sarah has also scaled Britain’s six highest peaks over the course of two weekends to raise funds for the Hollybank Trust.

The gruelling challenge is not one she’s in a rush to repeat, but Sarah, who has also achieved Chartered Institute of Fundraising certification, is very keen to join the many dedicated fundraisers who make the charity’s vital work possible.

Bluebell Wood’s fundraising team will no doubt have plenty of ideas to keep her busy – so watch this space…