An £8 million specialist support centre in Aberdeen for children with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions has been approved by the council.
The charity Charlie House’s new facility, which will cater to babies, children and young people is earmarked to be built in the grounds of Woodend Hospital in the city.
The eight-bedroom centre will come with extra family accommodation, a sensory room, library, spa pool, craft room, soft play area, and end of life care and bereavement facilities.
Currently, children in the north-east of Scotland who need the specialist services the new development will provide must make journeys of more than 100 miles to Kinross to access planned and emergency palliative and end of life care.
Information from Charlie House says that there are more than 1,800 youngsters in the north-east who require specialist help.
Tracy Johnstone, the chairwoman of Charlie House, said the big step forwards of securing planning permission from Aberdeen City Council means the charity will be able to improve its care for all of the children and young people that it offers assistance to.
She said: “This is an incredible day for the charity and the team.
“We are so passionate about bringing this centre to the city, and today we came a huge step closer.
“The state-of-the-art specialist support centre will be the first of its kind in the region to offer these support services to the people of the north-east of Scotland, encompassing Aberdeen City and Shire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.”
In November 2018, the charity launched its fundraising campaign to support the build of the new centre, and has so far raised £2.4m of its £8m target.
With the planning permission now approved, the charity will be able to apply for extra grant funding to make the dream become a reality.
Professor Nick Fluck, medical director at NHS Grampian, said the new centre will make a big difference to children and their families that will be able to take advantages of the new services it will bring to the north-east.
He said: “There are many children and young people in the north-east of Scotland requiring specialist support.
“This facility will offer them the option of local support and specialist care.”
Established in 2011, Charlie House currently offers a range of services to youngsters in the region.
The organisation hosts activity clubs, sibling’s clubs for the brothers and sisters of disabled children, and supplies support via the Charlie House community nurse, as well as one-to-one emotional and practical assistance from its children and family support manager.
And twice a year, the charity takes the youngsters it helps and their families on adventures to Kielder Forest Park in England, run by the Calvert Trust.
David MacDonald, from the project architects Cumming and Co, said: “We are delighted to support Charlie House with this inspiring project.
“We are looking forward to watching the build unfold and this remarkable vision come to life.”
To find out more about the charity and support its work, visit www.charliehouse.org.uk