The answers to some of frequently asked questions are listed below.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please send us an email.
How do I apply for support from Willow?
Applications must be fully completed by a medical referrer who fill out the online form on behalf of their patient. Please read the information on our application page for full details.
Willow has two main service options available, Special Treats and Special Days (days out , something at home or short breaks). Please be aware that we can only provide one Special Day per person. Please make sure that you meet our eligibility criteria before making an application.
Special Day applications are made through our online form. For Special Treats, please visit this page and contact us directly. If you cannot apply using our online system for any reason, please email us.
How long does it take to process an application?
There is a high demand for our services and we have to prioritise applications based on medical urgency. Our approximate turnaround times are listed below but this could be longer depending on the number of applications we are receiving and our current staff capacity.
These timescales represent the time from a complete application* being submitted to the first contact from our team to start making arrangements with the applicant.
Palliative or degenerative – Between 1 – 4 weeks
Curative – Between 8 – 12 weeks
If you haven’t heard from us after this time, please email us at as we might not have been able to get in touch with you. If you change any of your contact details, please inform us as soon as you can.
*Please note, applications that are incomplete or with incorrect applications will take much longer.
I have had a Special Day/Special Treat before, can I apply more than once?
Unfortunately no. Each applicant can only receive support once from Willow.
Our goal is to reach as many people with life threatening illnesses as possible and there are thousands of people diagnosed each year who are eligible for our support.
How quickly will I receive my Special Treat if my application is approved?
Once a Special Treat application has been approved, your gift box should be sent to you within a month. We will update you if there are any delays but usually the delivery time is very quick.
It has been a long time and my Special Treat has not arrived, what should I do?
If you have not received an update regarding any delays already, please email us as soon as you can.
How long do I have to take my Special Day?
Once your application has been accepted you have 12 months to take your Special Day. The date you choose within this time period is completely up to you but please be aware that certain choices are limited by availability/prices (particularly in peak seasons such as school holidays).
If for any reason you feel that you cannot take your day within the 12 month period then please let us know as soon as possible.
Who can come with me on my Special Day?
The number of people you can share your Special Day with depends on the type of activity that you choose. For larger groups there are certain activities that we can’t do, so please discuss this with your Special Day Coordinator and they can advise you. If you need a carer to attend to help with your medical needs, please let us know before we start making any arrangements.
Can I go abroad for my Special Day?
All Special Days have to take place within the UK. However we can arrange travel within the UK such as flights from Northern Ireland to mainland Britain.
What if I have any special requirements?
If you have dietary, medical, religious or any other special requirements please let your Special Day Coordinator know and they will do everything possible to help. Unfortunately we are unable to assist with the hire of additional medical equipment such as oxygen, mobility scooters and hoists. Please speak to your medical professional who should be able to help with your requirements.
What if I am too unwell to go?
Please don’t worry and let us know as soon as you can. If you are too unwell to attend then we can try to rearrange your Special Day for another time. Please discuss this with your Special Day Coordinator and give them as much notice as possible if we need to cancel any arrangements.
Can my family/friends go without me?
As the Special Day is specifically funded for you, if you can’t attend then we will need to cancel the arrangements. It is not possible for your family or friends to go without you and the Special Day can only take place if you are going.
Do I need a doctor’s note?
For certain types of Special Day such as, spa experiences and sky dives, you may need to complete a medical form and ask your doctor or nurse to sign it. Your Special Day Coordinator will advise you if this is required when discussing your choice of Special Day. We will discuss your choice of Special Day with your medical professional to make sure that it is safe and suitable. If for any reason your doctor or nurse feels that your choice isn’t appropriate then we will discuss different options for your Special Day.
Do I need insurance for my Special Day?
Willow does not provide any travel insurance cover. Therefore please check with your own provider if you need any additional cover for your Special Day.
I would like to extend my Special Day and stay for an additional night – can I pay to do this?
As we pay for all bookings through donations made to the charity, we are therefore unable to make part payments or accept any money towards the cost of your Special Day. However you can extend your stay by making your own booking if you wish. This must be separate from the Willow booking and will not be treated as part of your Special Day.
In all cases, please discuss any changes or additions you want to make with your Special Day Coordinator as they may affect the arrangements we have already made. It is also not possible for us to reimburse you for any bookings you have made.
What happens if there are any further restrictions due to COVID-19?
In the event of another lockdown, we will offer you an alternative choice of support that we can do within the restrictions. This may be a Special Day at home or Special Treat. If some day or break options are still open then we can look at those if applicable.
In any case, your application will be valid for the 12 month period from approval and we offer an alternative within this time frame.
If you wish to wait until all restrictions have lifted, then you may reapply at a later date but would still need to meet our eligibility criteria at the time.