VitalBlackpool vists Brian House
Your generosity raised more than £3000 for the hospice - that's including the 28% extra that the charity will get from "Gift Aid" - and every penny will make a difference.
This afternoon, forum members Mick Page (PickeringHatTrick) - the very man who organised the event - and Martin Bury (Jerry) visited Brian House Hospice to see first-hand where exactly this money went, and the difference it makes to the every-day running of the hospice.
Brian House Children's Hospice is actually a part of Trinity Hospice and they rely heavily on their volunteers to run effectively. In total, there are around 540 volunteers working at the hospice, working alongside around 130 members of staff who keep them organised and ensure they are doing the best they can to help the patients feel comfortable in their surroundings at all times.
Add to this 9 nurses in the local community that do home visits through the hospice - 3 of which on behalf of Brian House - and Blackpool Victoria Hospital and you can see how dependant the Hospice is on the local community not just for raising funds, but for actually helping out in the hospice every day - even over the Christmas period - and with around 60 families catered for by the hospice, every bit of help is needed.
Brian House itself has been running for 11 years, with some of its patients having been there since it opened. Of course, not all patients are there 100% of the time. The addition of community nurses to Brian House means that those that are fortunate enough to be able to spend time at home, can do, while they can stay at the hospice for 1 or 2 days each week to give the parents some time off from the constant care that they unfortunately need.
The children's hospice is separated from the main building by a garden (see below) that was created 2 years ago where the children can play outside in summer, spend time with their families or just enjoy some fresh air when the weather permits it.
Pic 1: View from main building looking towards Brian House.
Pic 2: Another view across the garden.
Pic 3: From Brian House looking across the garden to main building and seating area.
Inside the hospice itself, there is an extra-sensory room, brightly-decorated walls, toys, an activity area, a games room and a lounge with a television to make sure the children are kept occupied, stimulated and entertained while there. In addition to this, there is also accommodation for families of the children to spend the night should they wish - especially if the child has only just been referred to Brian House and the parents are uneasy at leaving their child immediately.
Also a part of the hospice is the Linden Centre for bereavement. This requires a further 60 trained volunteers working alongside 3 counselling support officers to keep providing care for anyone that has lost a loved one, whether they have been at the hospice or not.
Your fund-raising money will go towards a number of areas of Brian House. The community nurses that were mentioned earlier are funded by the community, while essential equipment is also paid for by money raised - for example, a hoist that lifts patients from their beds (or wherever they may be) into a specially designed bath cost the hospice around £10,000 alone! It will come as no surprise then that it costs around £900,000 to £1 Million every year to keep Brian House running - for which they rely mainly upon donations.
So far they have applied unsuccessfully for funding through the National Lottery and the Children In Need campaign, so there is an increased need for the local community to pull together through such events as "Deepdale Revisited" and sponsored walks, bike rides and so forth to raise the cash every year.
With Blackpool Football Club already paying visit to the hospice to put smiles on the faces of the children on more than one occasion - those of you who have seen the pictures on the club's website will remember Wes Hoolahan playing in the ball-pool! - we hope that at some point in the future, another fund-raising event can be held so that a relationship between the hospice, the football club and its fans can be maintained for some time to come, for the benefit of Brian House.
Once again thankyou on behalf of Mick to everyone that attended, donated money and helped by donating prizes that actually raised the money!
For more information on Brian House, visit their website;
Brian House Children's Hospice