A high-level sports team in Cambridge has given pride of place to a charity which provides a lifeline to families with a sick child in hospital.
Cambridge Futsal Club, who play in the FA National Futsal Series, has named The Sick Children’s Trust as its nominated charity for the 2022/23 season.
Cambridge Futsal Club captain Jonny Tofts showcases the new team shirt.
The Sick Children’s Trust, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the charity that gives families with a seriously ill child in hospital a comfortable place to stay and a friendly ear to listen in one of their ten ‘Homes from Home’. Two of these homes are in Cambridge, with Acorn House supporting families with a child being cared for at Addenbrooke’s Hospital while Chestnut House supports families at The Rosie.
By providing families with somewhere to stay together just minutes from the hospital means that they can be by their sick child’s side and have one less thing to worry about.
In a wonderfully generous move to raise awareness, the charity’s logo can be seen on the front of their shirts for the duration of the season. The new shirts were debuted on Sunday (18 September), where the team were defeated 6-4 by well-drilled visitors Bristol Welsh in the opening match of the new season, played at the University of Cambridge Sports Centre.
Cambridge Futsal Club member Tom Martin, of Histon, was supported by The Sick Children’s Trust in 2018 when his five-month-old daughter Annie needed open heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Annie Martin in hospital.
With grandparents kindly stepping in to care for their other two children – four-year-old Leo, and Dom, aged two – Tom and wife Charlotte were supported at the charity’s Rainbow House ‘Home from Home’, located just minutes away from Annie’s hospital bedside. Tom said:
“We just couldn’t have managed without the help of The Sick Children’s Trust and Rainbow House. We were able to stay right next-door to Annie. It was our refuge to sleep so we could we cope with the daily emotional and logistical challenges of keeping ourselves and our family functioning. It was a place where we could cook our own food. It may sound silly, but those simple comforts mean the world at such a time.
“It really is a time when what is truly important in life is never clearer. The kindness shown by The Sick Children’s Trust simply cannot ever be forgotten. Annie is doing so great now, which is amazing for all of us.”
The Martin family, with Annie on the right.
The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ten ‘Homes from Home’. Since 1982 it has supported over 73,000 families, just like Tom’s, with a place to stay close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside.
Speaking about the move to support The Sick Children’s Trust, Cambridge Futsal Club chairman Chris Horton said:
“We are extremely proud to support The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity with strong links to Cambridge thanks to their Acorn House and Chestnut House Homes from Home, not to mention how they looked after Tom and his wife while Annie was in hospital in London. Putting a charity on the front of the playing shirt in place of a sponsor is certainly uncommon, but we know how much it will help to raise awareness about this fantastic charity and the wonderful work they do.”
Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive of The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“For Cambridge Futsal Club to name The Sick Children’s Trust as their nominated charity is a wonderful gesture, and our staff, not only at Acorn House and Chestnut House but across the whole charity, are delighted. We are completely aware about what a rare opportunity this is, for our charity to be given pride of place on the front of a team shirt. We are so grateful for all of the exposure that we will receive throughout the coming season, and wish Cambridge Futsal Club the very best of luck for their campaign.”
The Sick Children’s Trust is currently the focus of a BBC Lifeline Appeal, showcasing how the charity supports families with a sick child in hospital with a warm and welcoming place to stay. The appeal, hosted by Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke, features three families supported at the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’. It is currently available on BBC iPlayer.