Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) have awarded a grant of £10k from the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation straight to Eckersley House, the ‘Home from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust. CHSF have now awarded well over half a million to Eckersley House since 2010.
Eckersley House gives families with seriously ill children at Leeds Children’s Hospital a place to stay just minutes from their loved one’s hospital bedside. Jane Featherstone, CEO at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“We are really grateful to the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation for the £10k grant, and to CHSF for their extremely generous and ongoing support of Eckersley House.
“Our ‘Home from Home’ is vital in helping to keep families of children with a serious heart condition together and we couldn’t do it without this support.”
Hollie-Rose Knutton from Halifax, was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Pulmonary Stenosis at just 19 months old and needed two open heart surgeries in July 2020, one to ease the condition and the second to fit a pacemaker. She was transferred to the specialist care of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit from her local hospital. Her mum, Emma, said:
“We were lucky enough to be able to stay in Eckersley House and the staff there were so welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. During Hollie’s first admission, I was heavily pregnant with her little sister Heidi, and they were so reassuring, making sure I had everything I needed and even helping me move rooms towards the end of my pregnancy to one that was easier to access.
“They made sure I knew that Heidi could be accommodated with me in Eckersley House if needed and they had Moses baskets and everything I would need so I didn’t have to worry about anything.
“Being able to stay in Eckersley House meant that I was close to Hollie but also had a place of comfort and calm to rest whilst allowing me to return to Hollie’s bedside within minutes, especially when she needed emergency surgery at 2am one Saturday morning. It’s so hard to describe just how horrendous it is having to leave your child on their own when they’re so poorly – so having accommodation like this is so important for families.”
Emma also praised the support of CHSF, whose work is made possible because of public donations – including the work of Family Support Worker Sarah Cherry. Emma added:
“CHSF are amazing! Hollie had heart surgery back in July 2020 and we had support then during our two week stay. Over the last year, they have helped us again both financially with travel grants and shopping vouchers and with parent accommodation in the hospital.
“Sarah, is a little ray of sunshine, she brings a listening ear and a friendly smile every time she visits and is such a credit to the team. It is so obvious she tries to do all she can to make everyone’s stay in hospital easier and is always thinking of other ways to help.”
The St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation is an independent charity which has raised over £110 million. The funds are distributed through a range of grant programmes to hundreds of charities each year, both in the UK and overseas. Ewan Dowes, Director at Dowes Wealth Management, said:
“Myself and the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation are extremely excited and proud to be able to announce the amazing CHSF as our 2021 charity of the year. We were blown away by the support they provide for the children and their families.
“To be able to fund the family accommodation facility for the next 12 months meant a great deal to us in what is a vital part of the process when the children receive the life-saving surgery. From all of us at the SJP Charitable Foundation, massive congratulations and we look forward to receiving regular updates on the great work the CHSF does.”
More information about the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund can be found on their website chsf.org.uk.