Date published: 06 September 2023 by Katie Inglis
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families caring for a seriously ill child, has paid tribute to Anne Harris, its Director of Care Services, who is retiring after 17 years.
Anne joined Rainbow Trust in July 2006 and has been pivotal in helping the charity work towards its mission: that every family in the UK who has a child with a life threatening illness receives the support they need.
When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, Rainbow Trust’s care teams of expert Family Support Workers provide emotional and practical support to families whose lives have been turned upside down.
Throughout her tenure, Anne has been instrumental in increasing the number of these care teams across England – from six when she first started to today’s nine - helping families when they most need it.
Developing new ways to deliver social palliative care, the essential support that a family needs alongside medical care to face each day as it comes, resulted in three new care teams in Liverpool, Reading and the Kentown Support Team in Lancaster, increasing partnership working to enhance delivery. Other key achievements include introducing online support for families, which made a huge difference, particularly throughout the pandemic, enabling families to build empathetic relationships with a Family Support Worker to help them process feelings and alleviate stress.
Anne’s prominent role supporting fundraising included speaking at key events and representing Rainbow Trust at sector wide forums.
Before joining Rainbow Trust, Anne trained as a paediatric and adult nurse at Great Ormond Street and University College Hospitals, before working as a Staff Nurse in London. She then trained as a Social Worker and worked for Sargent Cancer Care for Children at Bristol Children’s Hospital. In 2003 Anne joined the CLIC Charity as National Services Manager. When CLIC and Sargent merged to form CLIC Sargent she became Head of Service for South West England and South Wales. Anne also ran the out-patients service at an adult hospice in Weston Super Mare.
As Rainbow Trust says goodbye to Anne, they look forward to welcoming her successor, Jen Kenward, who will start on Monday September 11, working with Anne until her retirement at the end of the year.
Mark Cunningham, Chair of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, said:
“We are so incredibly grateful to Anne for her 17 years with Rainbow Trust: she really has been an inspiration to everyone who has been fortunate enough to work with her. Her passion for helping families has been evident throughout and the success of the care teams across England testament to her dedication.
As we say our goodbye’s Anne, we are delighted to welcome Jen Kenward. Having spent her career in the NHS and latterly with NHS England in both clinical and managerial roles as well as working very closely with social care, charities and communities, I know Jen will be excellent in her new role as Director of Care Services."
Zillah Bingley, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity Chief Executive, said:
“Anne’s commitment, extensive knowledge and approachable manner have been a credit to Rainbow Trust and she has been a delight to work with. We will all miss her sunny character, dry sense of humour and the many colourful anecdotes she shared with us about her career and the different personalities she met along the way.”
Anne Harris said:
“Working at Rainbow Trust has never been dull! I remain immensely proud of the work that the Family Support Workers do every day that truly makes a difference in family lives at an incredibly challenging time. There have been highs and lows, the pandemic saw a particular challenge as we had to develop new ways to continue to support families. I look forward to supporting Jen as she takes over the role and I know that Rainbow Trust Care Services will be in very safe, new hands going forward.”