What we’ve been up to | June 2019
June was a busy month for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK! We refurbished our much-loved Ronald McDonald House Tooting at St George’s Hospital in London. We made good progress with the construction of our new 62 bedroom House at Oxford Children’s Hospital. And we checked in 550 families to our Houses across the UK.
Families checked in
Across our 11 Houses, 550 families checked in during the month of June. Most of them will end up staying for at least two weeks, but for some, the visits will end up being months and possibly years. The Houses will very much become their ‘home away from home’.
Our staff were working hard, as they do every month, to ensure these families were welcomed into a caring and supportive home. When a family checks in to one of our Ronald McDonald Houses, we often find out that their visit to hospital has been unexpected, or they’ve arrived in an emergency situation. Our families can be in shock, sleep deprived and struggling to come to terms with the reality of their situation. We try and make things easier by taking away the stresses associated with finding a place to sleep, wash and eat, and the travel and financial pressures that can arise.
In June, our Houses also organised a plethora of different activities. From ‘Take Away Tuesday’, providing a free hot meal in our Evelina London House, to ‘Movie Monday’ in our Manchester House, and not forgetting all our special breakfasts and pamper evenings for dads on Father’s day, our staff worked hard to bring families together.
Refurbishment of Ronald McDonald House Tooting
Ronald McDonald House Tooting at St George’s Hospital opened in December 2005. It has eight bedrooms, and is managed by our wonderful House Manager, Rachel Tween along with her incredible team of seven committed employees. But after 14 years, we needed to give the House some love. So throughout June, we’ve been beavering away, making the House more comfortable and welcoming for our families.
What we achieved:
- Refurbished 10 bathrooms
- decorated all eight bedrooms
- installed new carpets and curtains in all bedrooms
- fitted new stair and hallway flooring
Progress on Ronald McDonald House Oxford
We’ve operated a 17 bedroom House for families at Oxford Children’s Hospital since January 2007. It’s situated on the top floor of the hospital. The House is not big enough to accommodate all the families who need a home, whilst their child is being cared for in the Hospital; in 2018, we had to turn away 300 families! As the hospital has expanded its services, they are seeing more patients and we are seeing more families who need a room. We need to expand too.
At the end of 2018 we started building a brand new 62 bedroom House. It’s purpose built, on a site right next to the hospital. Once open, we’ll be able to accommodate more than triple the number of families we have been helping in our current House. We’ll be able to offer more services, such as a garden, lounges, multiple kitchens and dining rooms, a large playroom, and fully equipped laundry facilities. And importantly, we’ll also have the space to run activities for children staying with us, and for those children who are sometimes able to leave the hospital. We’ll also be able to organise events for the whole family, such as on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and more.
June was our seventh month of the build, and we’re making great progress. The second floor slab is complete. We completed the external brickwork sample panels. And the brickwork has been completed below the damp proof membrane.
We expect the House to open in summer 2020.