FAQs

Are you an independent registered charity?

Yes. We are a registered charity, governed by a board of independent Trustees. We rely on public and corporate donations, along with support from Trusts, statutory bodies and legacies to keep our Ronald McDonald Houses open and to provide more family accommodation at specialist children's hospitals.

How do I get a room in one of your Ronald McDonald Houses?

If you need a room in a Ronald McDonald House, you must ask the hospital staff to refer you. Once your child has been admitted to hospital, the nurse on the ward will need to complete a referral form that gets sent to the Ronald McDonald House. The staff at the House will allocate rooms and inform you when one is available.

Can I pre-book a room?

The families that stay with us don’t know how long their children will be treated in hospital, for this reason we can’t take bookings; families can stay with us for as long as their child is in hospital. There is one exception to this rule: Our House at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London takes bookings as the hospital largely carries out elected surgeries.

Do I have to pay for a room?

No. Our service is completely free of charge for families. We do ask that you pay a £25 key deposit, which is refundable on leaving the Ronald McDonald House. Many families choose to donate their key deposit to the Charity. There is a small charge for the washing machines and tumble dryers.

How do you decide which families get allocated a room in your Ronald McDonald Houses?

Sometimes all our rooms are full and we have to prioritise families who are waiting. We do this in consultation with the hospital ward and we do have a veto on the final decision. We assess each family on a case-by-case basis, however, we use three main criteria:the

- degree of severity of the child’s illness
- the distance the family has to travel
- the length of time the family is likely to stay

What facilities are in the Houses?

Our Houses are open 365 days a year and are equipped with everything you would find in a family home. Families can get a good night's sleep, prepare their own meals and feel at home, knowing that they're just moments away from their child in hospital. All the Houses have bedrooms, with the majority being en suite, laundry facilities, kitchens, lounges and play areas. The majority of our Houses have fully accessible toilets and bathrooms.

How long can I stay in a House?

Families can stay for as long as their child is in hospital. The longest time a family has stayed in one of our Houses is 828 days.

If I get a room in a Ronald McDonald House do I have to clean it myself?

Yes. Our Houses are a ‘home away from home’ so families are expected to keep their room tidy throughout their stay. Families are also expected to clear up after themselves when using the communal areas.

Are meals provided in the Houses?

Accommodation is provided free of charge, which includes the use of all facilities such as kitchens, living rooms and playrooms. Families then buy and cook their own food. On occasion groups of volunteers prepare free meals and some of our Houses organise regular communal activities for families to take part in, such as ‘Waffle Wednesday’ or ‘Tea and Toast Tuesday’.

How many people can stay in a room at the House?

Most of our Ronald McDonald Houses enable four people to stay in each bedroom – they contain two single beds and two pull-out beds. We can also provide cots. Our Houses in Camberwell, Brighton and Guy’s & St Thomas’ are smaller and some of the rooms are too small to accommodate four people.

Can my family and friends visit me in a Ronald McDonald House?

Absolutely! We encourage family and friends to visit. It’s important to have a break away from the hospital ward and to see some familiar faces.

If I don’t have a room can I still use the House during the day?

Yes. Most of our Houses have day facilities where you can cook, take a shower or just get some time away from the hospital ward.

I’m under 18. Can I stay in a Ronald McDonald House?

If you are under 18 and seeking accommodation with Ronald McDonald House Charities you must be accompanied by a legal guardian over the age of 18 years old. However, each referral is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please speak directly to the Ronald McDonald House for more information.

I’m not a UK resident. Can I use a Ronald McDonald House?

Yes, if your child is being treated in an NHS hospital you can be referred to stay in a House.

The hospital my child is being treated at doesn’t have family accommodation. Can I stay in one of your Ronald McDonald Houses if it is nearby?

We work in partnership with individual NHS Trusts and our Houses are often over-subscribed, therefore, our Ronald McDonald Houses serve only the families of children staying at specific hospitals.

I want to stay in a Ronald McDonald House overseas,who do I get in contact with?

You will need to speak to the House in question, you can view a list of every Ronald McDonald House around the world and get contact details from the Global website: www.rmhc.org

How can I speak to a House directly?

You can find the full list of Houses and contact details on our website. View a list of our Houses.

How can I donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities?

The easiest way to donate is online via CAF; simply visit our donate page. You can also send a cheque made payable to ‘RMHC’ to 11-59 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 8AW.

If I donate how will my donation be used?

Ronald McDonald House Charities provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children in hospital. Donations are used to build new Ronald McDonald Houses or to sustain existing accommodation. You can choose where your donation goes. If you would like to donate towards the running costs of a specific House instead of helping us build new ones, then feel free to choose a House.

What’s your relationship with McDonald’s?

We’re an independent charity and our biggest corporate supporter is McDonald's, whose customers donate millions of pounds each year by dropping their loose change in the collection boxes at the tills. McDonald's staff, restaurant owners and suppliers also support the Charity by fundraising, donating their personal time and making donations. McDonald's continue to be an essential, valuable and sustaining partner. McDonald’s UK has chosen us as their charity of choice since we were founded in the UK in 1989.

Is McDonald’s the only company you work with?

McDonald’s is our largest corporate supporter but we also work with other companies across the UK from many different industries, such as Coca-Cola GB, Martin-Brower UK Ltd, Busy Bees Nurseries, One Stop and HSBC amongst others. Some companies support their local House whilst others prefer to get involved on a more strategic, national level to help us build new Houses. We create a tailored partnership package which includes a structured volunteering programme and exclusive fundraising challenges for companies. These activities help to boost staff motivation and develop leadership and team-working skills within employees.

How much money does McDonald’s give you?

In 2014 McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd and its restaurant owners donated just over £1 million from their sales to Ronald McDonald House Charities. In addition, McDonald’s offers important organisational support by providing office space, general and administrative support, payroll and HR support, and IT and computer systems both at McDonald’s headquarters and its network of offices across the UK. Perhaps the greatest gift McDonald’s has given us is the opportunity to display collection boxes in UK restaurants. Donations from McDonald’s customers via these boxes totalled £3.2 million in 2014.

If McDonald’s, its restaurant owners, staff and customers fundraise for you and donate money, why should I donate to you?

Depending on the size of the Ronald McDonald House it can cost anywhere from £2.5 million to £10 million to renovate an existing building or to build something new and it currently costs almost £2 million per annum to run our existing Houses. With lots of families needing to be near their children the need for our services is far bigger than the remit of one corporate partner.

What happens to the money donated in collection boxes in McDonald’s restaurants?

100% of the money donated via collection boxes in McDonald’s restaurants comes to Ronald McDonald House Charities. These Donations are primarily used to help build new Ronald McDonald Houses.

I’m from Scotland / Northern Ireland / Wales and I donated money in collection boxes in McDonald’s restaurants. What happens to my donation?

All the collection box donations, coming in from all parts of the UK, are brought together into one central fund which is primarily used to build new Houses across the UK where the need is greatest. As the NHS moves to improve their treatment of children by developing centres of excellence, children are being taken to hospitals further from home for specialist treatment.

Are you looking to build any Ronald McDonald Houses in Scotland / Northern Ireland / Wales?

There is already a Ronald McDonald House at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland and we are currently working towards opening a Ronald McDonald House in Cardiff, Wales. We are also in very early stage discussions with another hospital in Scotland and a hospital in Northern Ireland.

Do you give grants?

Ronald McDonald House Charities does not give grants. All the donations we receive go to providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children in hospital, either by supporting our existing Ronald McDonald Houses, or providing new ones.

How do you decide where you build your Ronald McDonald Houses?

Our development team works very closely with hospital representatives to identify the needs of the families whose children are being treated at the hospitals. We have plans to provide more ‘home away from home’ accommodation at specialist children’s hospitals, however, as an independent charity we must first raise the money needed to build them. We must therefore prioritise hospitals based on a number of factors such as the number of specialist children’s services provided and if there is a neo-natal intensive care unit, a major trauma centre and/or a paediatric intensive care unit.

Where are your Ronald McDonald Houses located?

There are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses across the UK at NHS hospitals. View a list of our Ronald McDonald Houses.

Where will the next House be built?

At the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. We will start a newly built 30-bedroom Ronald McDonald House on the hospital campus which we hope to open in 2017. It will be our first House in Wales.

How do I get a Ronald McDonald House at my hospital?

We receive many requests from hospitals to build a Ronald McDonald House on their site and prioritise hospitals based on the need. One of our main criteria is that your hospital must have a number of specialist services for children. We prioritise hospitals based on many factors such as the number of specialist children’s services provided, if there is a neo-natal intensive care unit, a major trauma centre and/or a paediatric intensive care unit. If you think we may be able to help you please send an email to info@rmhc.org.uk for our consideration.

What are Family Rooms?

Family Rooms are individual bedrooms within a children’s or neo-natal ward that Ronald McDonald House Charities originally paid to refurbish. The Charity no longer runs the Family Room programme and the rooms are now run and managed directly by the hospital.

Why don’t you run Family Rooms anymore?

Our mission is to ensure we have sufficient funds and expertise to provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at specialist children’s hospitals. The Family Rooms were generally smaller units located at hospitals that didn’t have either the need, or the land for a larger stand alone House.

Do you have a Ronald McDonald House at Basildon?

Ronald McDonald House Charities has sponsored three bedrooms to provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children at Basildon University Hospital since 2005. This ten year contract between the Charity and the Hospital came to an end in September 2015.

The paediatrics team at the Hospital will be maintaining the accommodation for families and we hope the local community will continue to support this vital facility.

How do I set-up a fundraising page?

Once you have decided how you would like to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities, we recommend you set-up an online fundraising page at Virgin Money Giving or JustGiving. Simply select our Charity name from the list. If you would like to raise money for a specific House write it in the description on your page. Our fundraising team will then allocate the donations accordingly. If you’re undecided about how to raise money for us check out the Get Involved section or call head office on 0844 840 0844 to speak to the fundraising team.

Do I have to tell you I’m fundraising?

You don’t have to but we do like to know; we may even be able to support you in some way. If you have downloaded a fundraising pack from our website you will already have submitted your details to us. If not, please drop us a line via our contacts page.

Do you collect ring pulls from soda cans to raise money?

No. Ronald McDonald House Charities in the U.S collects them but we do not collect them in the UK.

Can I use your logo?

There are a number of ways you can use our logo:

1. If you are raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities you can use our logo in your email signature and on any publicity materials, along with a link to your online fundraising page. Please email info@rmhc.org.uk to obtain our logo.

2. If your company is selling a product and donating a percentage of the sales to the Charity you may use our logo once both parties have signed a commercial participatory agreement.

3. If your company has adopted us as your Charity of the Year you can use our logo on your email signature and on other agreed materials for a specific time period.

Please email our fundraising team for details. 

Which logo should I use on my fundraising materials?

Please email info@rmhc.org.uk to request the logo. 

I’m doing a presentation; do you have any resources I can use?

There are lots of videos on our YouTube channel that you can play at your presentation - https://www.youtube.com/RMHCUK - and you can also use any of the content on our website. However, if you would like to use a family story please let us know by emailing info@rmhc.org.uk, so we can ask for the family’s permission.

Where can I buy branded products?

We have an online shop where you can buy items such as t-shirts, thermos flasks and bags. Visit www.rmhcshop.org.uk

I want to hand out some information about Ronald McDonald House Charities at an event. What can I use?

Please feel free to download and print out as many copies of A Guide to Ronald McDonald House Charities or our five key facts leaflet as you like. These can be found on our Get Involved section.

I want to contact local press about my fundraising event / story of staying in a Ronald McDonald House. Can you help me?

When approaching a journalist it’s best to give them as much detail about your event as possible. We suggest you put together a press release. Please get in touch with our press team for more information by emailing info@rmhc.org.uk.

Can I nominate you for my company’s Charity of the Year?

Yes please! This is a great way to raise money and awareness of the Charity. Visit the corporate giving section of our website for more information.

Can I volunteer?

Some of our larger Houses are always on the look-out for volunteers to help on reception, with administration, at events or with organising activities inside the House. To register your interest please complete the Volunteer Form.

Am I allowed to collect money for you door-to-door?

This is quite complicated legally so please give our fundraising team a call on 0844 840 0844 before embarking on something like this.

Do you distribute bags to collect people’s old clothes and books?

A third party company used to collect unwanted items to recycle them and raise money for the Charity but we no longer partner with this company or run the scheme. If you get a bag through your door with the Ronald McDonald House Charities logo on please contact us.

Can Ronald McDonald visit my fundraising event?

Ronald McDonald is a character used by McDonald’s. You can find contact details on their website. 

I want to give feedback, how can I do this?

We have a feedback form on our website. You’ll see the button on the right hand side of every page.

Contact us

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