Volunteers come together to revamp Charity’s garden
The Deputy Mayor of Brighton attended a garden party at Ronald McDonald House Brighton on Friday 19 August to celebrate the House’s new garden which has been spruced up by local volunteering groups.
Councillor Mo Marsh visited Ronald McDonald House Brighton, which provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families with children being treated at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, to thank the volunteers and speak to families staying at the House.
The 18-bedroom House is spread cross two sites and comes equipped with kitchens, living areas, dining areas and a patio garden. Families can stay free-of-charge for as long as they need, taking away the stress of booking accommodation and paying for travel.
The two volunteer groups, National Citizen Service (NCS) and Brightoning Lives, are government funded initiatives. NCS offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for 15-17 year olds to meet new people, learn new skills and make a difference in their local community. A-Level students certainly did that when they spent a week (Monday 15 - Friday 19 August) at Ronald McDonald House Brighton creating a colourful mural to brighten up families’ stay at the House.
Previous to that, budding gardeners spent four weeks renovating the garden as part of the Brightoning Lives project, which helps the unemployed develop new skills. The job seekers first spent a week learning basic gardening skills before getting their hands dirty transforming the garden.
They planted new bushes and herbs that were generously donated by DIY store, B&Q, which can now be enjoyed by families staying at the House.
House Assistant, Yvonne Ford, who organised the garden party, says: “The work the volunteers have done to the garden is wonderful. It’s created a lovely space for families to relax during an often stressful time, knowing they’re moments for their child’s bedside.
“We’ve organised the party as a way of thanking both groups of volunteers for their hard work and we hope to continue working with important community groups like Brightoning Lives and NCS in the future.“
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Notes to editors:
1. Ronald McDonald House Brighton is run by Ronald McDonald House Charities - an independent charity that provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at hospitals across the UK. The Charity enables seriously ill children to have their families close by when they are undergoing treatment and allows them to maintain a degree of normal family life.
2. There are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK and in 2015, they helped support over 7,000 families with children in hospital.
3. The original Ronald McDonald House Brighton opened its doors to families in April of 1999 and was relocated to a new site in 2007. The new House has eight en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, a dining area, a kitchen, a laundry and a small patio garden. Ronald McDonald House Charities has also invested £300,000 to open a further 10 en-suite bedrooms on the top floor of the children’s hospital – meaning they can now offer 18 en-suite rooms to families in need.
4. Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers, including McDonald’s customers, without whom it would be unable to continue its work.
5. The Charity was founded in 1989 and has been keeping families together for more than 25 years.