Overnight respite care project Evie’s Night Owls is becoming an independent charity, after running as a very successful project of Camp Simcha for the past six years.
Evie’s Night Owls was established by North Londoners Sam and Lee Bladon six years ago in memory of their daughter Evie – to help fund night-time respite for families with seriously ill children supported by Camp Simcha.
Evie was born in 2012. Oxygen deprivation during birth resulted in severe brain damage and doctors didn’t expect her to survive beyond 48 hours. But Evie was a fighter who went on to celebrate three birthdays with her family.
The family themselves were supported by Camp Simcha during Evie’s lifetime with a variety of services including overnight respite so when it came to setting up the project, the charity was the obvious choice.
Sam, who announced their new plans on Evie’s birthday, September 21st, explained: “It has been fantastic working with Camp Simcha to establish this project and roll it out successfully to families they support.
“Evie’s health issues meant she needed 24/7 care, so we were up every night with her, with very little local authority respite support. The respite care we got was a life-saver – so as her legacy we wanted to raise funds to ensure other families got that vital support.
“Now we want to reach even more families, both within the Jewish community but beyond the scope of Camp Simcha and also beyond the Jewish community, which is the reason for us branching out on our own.
“Our hope is that we can collaborate with partner organisations throughout the UK and get the funding we need to provide respite care to all those in similar situations to the one we were in – parents who are desperately struggling to keep their head above water when they have night after night without sleep.
“We hope that Evie’s Night Owls will go from strength to strength and that we will again be able to assist with some of Camp Simcha’s overnight respite provision.”
In the meantime, Camp Simcha will continue to provide both daytime and overnight respite to their families who need it, as part of their core service provision.
Neville Goldschneider chief executive of Camp Simcha said the charity had been honoured to play its part in establishing Evie’s Night Owls “in memory of a wonderful little girl who will always have a special place in our hearts”.
“Since it was established in 2017, Evie’s Night Owls has raised an amazing £177K to fund the provision of over 7,000 nights of respite for families we support.
“They have run some incredible fundraising events from their launch ‘dress to party’ sale to a comedy night, football screenings and several quiz nights, which even continued successfully during Covid, as well as support from individuals doing challenge events.”
“We have loved working with Sam and Lee and their committee and wish them so much success in the next stage of the Evie’s Night Owls journey.”