A children’s charity has launched an appeal to raise £8 million to create a specialist support centre that will transform the lives of families across the north-east.
Charlie House needs support for its Big Build Appeal, which will help create a new facility to assist families of children with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions who currently endure 200-mile round trips for respite care.
Last month, the charity launched its plans to create a new state-of-the-art specialist centre for babies, children and young people affected by the conditions.
Chairwoman of Charlie House Tracy Johnstone said: “This is a historic day for the charity and the team is so excited to launch the Big Build Appeal and rally the people of the north-east of Scotland to get involved.
“We are pleased to announce we begin the appeal with a £1m fund pot, which is a wonderful starting point, but we need the support of the people of the north-east to help us reach our target.”
The first of its kind in the north-east, Charlie House will offer families respite and a place where their children’s individual needs can be met, both in facilities and play areas.
Currently families have to travel more than 100 miles to Kinross or Glasgow to access planned and emergency short breaks, palliative and end-of-life care facilities.
It has been a dream of the charity’s to create the centre from day one – and the plan has been in its sights since Charlie House began in 2011.
Tracy added: “We are so passionate about bringing this centre to the city. This project has always been about offering the families we support choice – choice as to where their child is cared for and in what type of environment.
“The specialist support centre will be the first of its kind in the region to offer these services to the people of the north-east of Scotland, encompassing the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland.”
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If planning permission is granted, it will see an eight-bedroom centre built in the grounds of Woodend Hospital, with additional family accommodation, in collaboration with NHS Grampian.
There will be a huge range of facilities on offer for families, such as a sensory room, library, spa pool, craft room, teen den, soft play area, therapy room, end-of-life care, outdoor play area and sensory gardens.
£1m has been raised to date through various events, fundraising projects and donations from north-east residents.
This money has been earmarked for the Big Build project, which is being supported by the Evening Express, and will go towards the construction and maintenance of the centre.
Tracy said: “We are calling on individuals, groups, schools and local businesses to support this life-changing project.
“We know first-hand the generosity and kindness of the north-east and know that they will stand together to support Charlie House.”
Members of the public are urged to support the appeal on social media by using hashtags #CountMeIn and #DigDeepNorthEast to help spread the word.