Charlie House’s lifelong dream of building a specialist-support centre in Aberdeen will now become a reality – after plans for its new premises was approved.
Charlie House, which supports babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and/or life-limiting conditions, received the go-ahead for its new facility from Aberdeen City Council, which will be based within four acres of ground at Woodend Hospital.
It will be the first of its kind in the north-east, with families currently having to travel more than 100 miles to the closest facilities in Kinross in order to access planned and emergency short breaks as well as palliative and end-of-life care.
The state-of-the-art support centre will have eight bedrooms, as well as family accommodation, and will also feature facilities such as a sensory room, library, spa pool, craft room, teen den and a soft play area.
It will also have a therapy room, star room for end-of-life-care and bereavement, outdoor play area and sensory gardens, as well as meeting and office space for the Charlie House team and medical staff.
The day has been long-awaited by staff, supporters and families, who launched a fundraising campaign to support the project, named The Big Build Appeal, back in November 2018 to mark the planning application being lodged.
It is currently raising £8m to support the project, with £2.4m already in the pot.
The granting of planning permission will mean the charity can also now apply for additional grant funding to support the project.
Chairwoman and founder of Charlie House Tracy Johnstone 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 the Aberdeen City & Shire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.”
Meanwhile, David MacDonald from Cumming & Co, the project’s architects, added: “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.”
As well as its Big Build Appeal, Charlie House also supports young people and their families through a range of ways, including providing vital assistance and organising fun activities to engage families, giving them somewhere and someone to turn to if they need it.
This year, the charity has experienced a 70% increase in requests for support from families as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the extra challenges, it has ensured that help is still in place for those who need it.
Anyone interested in supporting the ongoing work of Charlie House is asked to visit https://www.charliehouse.org.uk/support-us/ways-to-give/donate/ or call the office on 01224 313333.