Gearing up to open Ronald McDonald House Southampton
Pictured (L-R) Anne Ward, Head of Operations and Development for Ronald McDonald House Charities and Dr Alyson O'Donnell, Clinical Lead for Women and Children at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
This week, we've been getting ready to open our brand new Ronald McDonald House in Southampton, which will provide free 'home away from home' accommodation for families with children at Southampton Children's Hospital and Princess Anne Hospital.
Our relationship with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust started 10 years ago after we made a donation to refurbish rooms for families to sleep in and stay close to their sick child. But with the hospital taking on more specialist services for children and the announcement of their plans to build a dedicated state-of-the-art children's hospital due for completion in 2020, it was clear the need for more family accommodation was a priority.
In April 2013, we went on site to start construction on a 53 bedroom House. As well as en suite bedrooms, including some fully accessible rooms, every floor has communal kitchens and laundry facilities, as well as either a playroom, TV room or quiet room. The House is more than just a place to stay, providing somewhere for families to be together as a family and retain a sense of normalcy.
Once the House opens on 8 December, the staff, under the guidance of House Manager Heidi Palfrey, will be organising regular communal events to bring families together so they can share experiences. Kids' activities such as arts and crafts will serve to entertain the children who will be staying at the House.
Time, money, stress, loss of education and loss of earnings are but a few of the ways in which families can be affected by their child being cared for in hospital. We work with families to allow them to focus on supporting their child and do our utmost to lessen the other stresses. Children that require specialist medical care can often be in hospital for months or even years at a time, which is why families can stay with us for free for a long as they need.