A new appeal has been launched marking the start of Children’s Hospice Week to raise funds for a much-needed respite centre in Aberdeen.
Youngsters suffering with life limiting conditions across the north-east currently have to travel more than 100 miles to the closest hospice.
But Aberdeen based charity, Charlie House, is aiming to change this and is now poised to lodge plans with the council for a new facility at the site of Woodend Hospital.
Founded by Tracy Johnstone in 2010, the charity is the only one of its kind in the area which currently provides support to families across Grampian who have children going through end-of-life care.
Mrs Johnstone set up Charlie House after the premature birth of her twins led to one dying within the first 24 hours whilst the other was left with severe disabilities.
After realising there were few facilities to assist her and her son Louis she decided to fund raise for a new hospice.
Mrs Johnstone said: “When we had Louis, who is now eight, there just wasn’t really any support for us when we left the hospital.
“It’s a big project and a huge undertaking, but as we go on more and more people are contacting us saying they need the help of Charlie House.
“We already provide families with a great sense of support, but the building is absolutely our dream.”
One family from Oldmeldrum has found the current services of Charlie House to be a life-line to them.
Joanne Cameron, whose daughter Olivia has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, said: “Charlie House will be somewhere safe and excepting that our children can socialise, fit in and be themselves with facilities and accessibility for all abilities.
“It will also be a source of much needed support and respite for families in the area.”
One Moray mum, Lynne Geddes, had to travel more than 150 miles from her home in Buckie in order to receive palliative care for her dying son Harry in his final days.
As today marks the start of Children’s Hospice Week in the UK the charity hopes it will help boost the cash pot needed to build the new hospice in Aberdeen.
The project is expected to cost in the region of £8.5 million, including the first six months running costs.