Frequently asked questions

We hope our frequently asked questions can answer all the queries you have, but if you can’t find the answer to something please feel free to contact us.

How many children and families do you care for?

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices supports 700 babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families living in London and Surrey. Our bespoke support is available 365 days a year at our two purpose build children’s hospices and in their own homes at no cost to the families.

What services does Shooting Star Children’s Hospices offer?

Our bespoke support is free of charge to families and includes a named keyworker, a comprehensive range of therapies and support groups for the whole family, specialist nursing care and short breaks at our two hospices (Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford) or in the family home, symptom management, end-of-life care and bereavement support.

How much does it cost to run Shooting Star Children’s Hospices?

It costs £8.8 million a year – £24,000 a day.

How is your service funded?

Approximately 8% of our income comes from central government funding so we rely on our supporters’ generosity to raise the difference to keep the service running. What’s more, we know there are many more families desperate for our vital support, so it’s crucial we raise more funds.

How many nights does a family get allocated?

We provide specialist short breaks to families based on the medical condition of the child or young person and on the urgent support needs of the family at the time. We are committed to providing care in whichever way each family needs us and this will differ very much depending on the individual family circumstances.

How many doctors/nurses do you employ?

We have more than 100 staff in our care team, made up of paediatric nurses, nursery nurses, care assistants, therapists, social workers, counsellors and activities and education co-ordinators. We have 12 GPs from different local practices, who provide round-the-clock, on-call cover. We employ an in-house consultant in paediatric palliative care who we share with the Royal Marsden and who works at Christopher’s two days a week. We also work closely with the ‘Symptom Control Team’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital and a paediatric palliative consultant who attends Shooting Star House every week.

How do you decide who receives care?

Referrals can come from anywhere (e.g. the family, GPs, hospitals, consultants, community nursing teams), provided it is with the knowledge and consent of the child’s or young person’s parent or main carer. We assess the needs of referred children and young people and, after obtaining written consent from their families, look to find further information about their condition from the professionals they see regularly. Each week we hold a multi-disciplinary referral panel, where we look at the information provided and decide together if the child or young person fits our referral criteria. If a child or young person is refused, we will always reconsider a further referral if their condition changes or new information becomes available. Similarly, there is a regular review of each child we support.

How long does the referral process take?

The referral process can take a minimum of two weeks. Once accepted, care can be arranged quickly. In an emergency, a child or young person could be referred in a matter of hours.

Can a child from another children’s hospice area also use Christopher’s or Shooting Star House?

If a child lives closer to another hospice we would encourage them to apply to the one nearest their home for convenience. However, the family have the right to decide and we would always be fully supportive of their decision. All children’s hospice services work together and if a child who usually uses another hospice is coming to our area, they may contact us to see if we can help with their stay.

What kind of condition would a child have to have to be referred to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices?

All the babies, children and young people we care for have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Contact us for full details of the specific criteria, by calling 020 8783 2000 (Hampton) or 01483 230960 (Guildford) or by emailing

Will you be considering a young adults unit in the near future?

We are looking at ways to ensure the continuing care of our teenagers when they reach adulthood. A lot of work is underway with adult hospices and other healthcare providers on this important area of transition.

Are you registered with the Fundraising Regulator?

As a charity registered with the Fundraising Regulator, we’re committed to ensuring our fundraising is legal, open, honest and respectful. We follow the Fundraising Promise, as set by the Fundraising Regulator.

How do I request personal information?

Personal data is requested under a Subject Access Request which is sent to the Data Controller at For further information please read our Subject Access Request information sheet.