Cardiff Blues player trades rugby ball for hard hat at Ronald McDonald House Cardiff ground break

Cardiff Blues player trades rugby ball for hard hat at  Ronald McDonald House Cardiff ground break

Official partnership announced by Cardiff Blues

Picture caption: Welsh rugby player Macauley Cook was joined by Keynan Berry who’s being treated at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for a special ground breaking ceremony today (Friday 8 July 2016) to mark the official start of construction for Ronald McDonald House Cardiff – the independent charity’s first ever ‘home away from home’ accommodation in Wales.

One of the most exciting young talents in Welsh rugby and 11-year-old Keynan Berry, who is being treated at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, put on their hard hats and took up their spades to tackle the freshly prepared ground at the site opposite the hospital where the new 30 bedroom House is being built by construction company Willmott Dixon.

Ronald McDonald House Cardiff is costing over £5.5 million to build and is expected to be ready in late 2017. Once completed, it will provide families with a free place to stay just across the road from where their child is being cared for – either at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales or for babies in the neo-natal unit at University Hospital of Wales.

The House is one of 14 across the UK run by Ronald McDonald House Charities and will be equipped with en-suite bedrooms, large enough to sleep four, as well as kitchens, lounges, playroom areas and laundry facilities to help support and keep families together. They will be able to stay as long as needed in a stress free environment where experiences can be shared and friendships made.

Leading representatives joined Ronald McDonald House Charities’ personnel to celebrate the relationship. Maria Battle, Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and Alison Oliver, Clinical Service Lead for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, and were also in attendance to show their support for the new facility. The University Health Board oversees Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, part of University Hospital of Wales, which is a centre of excellence for paediatric services in Wales.

The groundbreaking ceremony was then followed by a number of speeches where special guest Maria Battle spoke about family centred care and why having a Ronald McDonald House at the hospital is so important.

She says: “I am really happy that the University Hospital of Wales has been chosen to have the first Ronald McDonald House in Wales. This facility will make a huge difference to families who will be able stay together in a home-from-home environment and support one another when their child is unwell. This is so important particularly for those children and families from across Wales who will not have the added worry of where they can stay in Cardiff while caring for their child.”


Cardiff Blues representative and charity ambassador, Macauley Cook, was also at the occasion to announce the rugby club’s official partnership with the Charity:
“I am delighted to be supporting the fantastic work Ronald McDonald House Charities does for families with sick children in hospital in their time of need. I know only too well what it is like to visit a patient in hospital, having spent much of my time with my team mate, Owen Williams, over many months of recovery, and can only imagine what it must be like for parents.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce Cardiff Blues’ official partnership with the Charity at this memorable ground breaking ceremony and we look forward to getting our fans behind the Charity’s first House in Wales.”

Jon Haward, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities, says: “It is great to be here today to celebrate the first phase of building work for Ronald McDonald House Cardiff. It means that we’re one step closer to providing our vital service in Wales for the very first time. We know that our Houses enhance a family’s hospital experience by keeping them close together and providing emotional and physical support and we can’t wait to be able to offer this level of family-centred care to the whole country.

“To emphasise the urgency, the charity Bliss has just issued a new report about Welsh neonatal services warning of severe pressures, with parents lacking vital support to be involved in their babies’ care and most specialist hospitals unable to provide overnight accommodation.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended the ground break here today, but in particular the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for kindly giving us the land to build on and contributing towards the construction costs. We are also very grateful to the Cardiff Blues for deciding to support our work and look forward to working closely with you as we enter this exciting era.”

For more information on the Charity’s first House in Wales, please visit: www.rmhc.org.uk/news-and-blog/ronald-mcdonald-house-cardiff

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Media contacts:
Georgie Curtis-Iddiols, Third Sector PR
T. 020 7922 7720 M. 07738 562 551 E. georgie@thirdsectorpr.co.uk

Patricia Orr, Third Sector PR
T. 020 7922 7720 M. 07889 140 139 E. pat@thirdsectorpr.co.uk

Notes to editors:
1. Photography. Please credit Huw Evans Agency, unless otherwise stated.

2. Do contact the number above for more pictures or if you would like to speak to anyone.

3. A video interview of a mother with a daughter who is being treated in Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital is available on the numbers above.

4. Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Cardiff is run by Ronald McDonald House Charities – an independent charity which provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families with seriously ill children in hospitals across the UK. It enables children to have their families close by when they are undergoing treatment and allows them to maintain a degree of normal family life.

It will be the Charity’s first in Wales and serve families with children being cared for at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales and babies in the neo-natal unit at University Hospital of Wales.

Ronald McDonald House Cardiff will have 30 en-suite bedrooms as well as kitchens, lounges, playroom areas and laundry facilities where families can stay free of charge for as long as their child is in hospital. The House is expected to be completed in late 2017.

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