A NATIONAL charity will launch its new role in a bid to help children with complex needs across the county.

WellChild is a national charity for seriously ill children and the new children's nurse post for the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board will launch on Tuesday morning.

Esther Bennington will be welcomed to her new role at Wrexham Maelor at 11am and will help children and young people across Flintshire.

Esther will be based at Catherine Gladstone House in Mancot. Through this unique post, she will support families by working closely with colleagues in the community, hospitals and other specialist centres to ensure the highest quality of care.

The WellChild Nurse posts seeks to support families at home to minimize the times they have to be admitted into hospital which can be upsetting for families.

Through this post they will receive close support in the community from a nurse who can help parents gain in confidence and guide them through difficult times. The post has been made possible through grants from The Steve Morgan Foundation, The Moondance Foundation and The Waterloo Foundation.

Esther said: "Being a Wellchild Nurse means the world to me. I enjoy the challenges that supporting children and young people with complex needs and their families brings - supporting them on their journey home, liaising with different teams or sign-posting them to agencies for support.

"Being a Wellchild Nurse brings me the support of not only the network of Nurses but also the Family Tree and Helping Hands projects. I am so passionate about Wellchild and the work they do. I previously was Wellchild Parent Trainer in Alder Hey."

The WellChild Nurses’ programme was established to address a clear gap in the provision of care and support for children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions. In addition to keeping families together and benefitting a child’s development, it is often more cost efficient to care for a child at home than in hospital.

Ashley Lewis, trustee with the Steve Morgan Foundation who visited the Better At Home suite training facility at Edge Hill University during the application process, added: "The Steve Morgan Foundation is very pleased to have provided a proportion of the funding for the WellChild Children’s Nurse post for Wrexham and Flintshire, and wish Esther all the very best in the new role.

"As one of a network of paediatric nurses supporting children with long-term complex needs, Esther will be aiming to train family members to be able to support the children fully at home, both by using specialised equipment and also being able to deal with emergencies."

One child who is benefitting from the extended support WellChild has already enabled is eight month old Phoebe Parry from Wrexham who was born prematurely at 30 weeks and has an undiagnosed condition with significant health needs.

WellChild Nurse Esther was first introduced to the family about a month before Phoebe came home and she supported the family by helping with communications between all the teams involved.

Phoebe’s mother Zoe Henderson said: "Without Esther we wouldn’t be where we are today; with her knowledge and support our journey with Phoebe has become a lot easier and we are starting to see improvements in Phoebe."

WellChild’s pilot Children’s Nurse programme began in 2006, and its success has already resulted in the creation of posts across the UK, including Ayrshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cumbria, Newcastle, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Hywel Dda in Wales, Kirklees, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Walsall and West Sussex. Further posts will be funded during this year.

More information can be found online at www.wellchild.org.uk.