Our families tell us that staying in hospital can be a traumatic and scary experience for a child and having their loved ones there to comfort them and to add a sense of normality to their lives is invaluable. Families come to Leeds Children’s Hospital from a huge area in which it would be impossible to travel home each night; this can have a massive financial impact on families with the costs of travel or accommodation.
The current home from home provision has an average of ten families on a waiting list each night and this means that a parent is either away from the child with cancer or away from their sibling(s) for extended periods of time. To help more families be together, at what is a very upsetting and distressing time, we launched our Candlelighters Cottage Appeal last year to enable us to extend the services we offer to families by providing extra family accommodation.
Our newly purchased cottage is just a stone’s throw away from Leeds Children’s Hospital and will provide family rooms to ensure that children with cancer can have both their mum and dad with them and their siblings too. The Cottage will provide a family with their own private bedroom that is a quiet and calm place to get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. A well-rested parent is an asset to a child’s care as it puts them in a much better position to support their child, comfort and entertain them during the day.
The Candlelighters Cottage will provide huge benefits for children with cancer and their families, and we needed to raise a massive £638,000 to cover the total cost of purchasing and refurbishing the cottage. We were generously match funded up to £250,000 by the Kentown Wizard Foundation, supported by the Lord Mayor's Appeal through 2017/18 and the hugely amazing individuals and companies from across Yorkshire and are very nearly at target!
We need to be able to run the Cottage, ensuring families have everything they need, as well as providing all the other vital services and support. Your continued support is very welcome to ensure we can make the experience for families the best it can be in these extraordinary circumstances - without people like you we are unable to stand with families facing childhood cancer.
You can watch the video of designs for the Candlelighters Cottage here.
The vision for our Candlelighters Cottage:
- We will provide a family with their own private bedroom that is a quiet and calm place where they can get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.
- We will provide access to vital amenities in the Cottage’s shared areas, including a kitchen diner, lounge, garden space and laundry facilities, all available for families to use whenever they need.
- We will provide a range of support services at The Square for families staying at the Cottage, which is just a very short walk away.
- We will enable children with cancer staying in hospital the chance to have both their mum and dad there to comfort them and to add a sense of normality to their lives, as well as their siblings too.
- We will offer parents a chance to get a full night’s sleep away from the ward to recharge their batteries.
- We will provide a comfortable and homely place for children who are well enough to leave the ward during a break in their treatment to visit and spend time with their family; playing with siblings, watching TV together or sharing a family meal around the table.
- We will enable parents to be together to support one another practically and emotionally, during what can be very upsetting, stressful and isolating days.
- We will offer the opportunity for families to use the shared areas to interact with other families in a similar position, gaining strength from sharing stories and confidences, forming sometimes life-long friendships and support networks.
- We will help to alleviate some of a family’s financial concerns and at least some of their worries.
If you would like to find out more about our Candlelighters Cottage or other services we provide please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the Lord Mayor of Leeds 2017/18, Cllr Jane Dowson, please click here.
To make an online donation to Candlelighters to help to cover the costs of running the Cottage and the other vital services we provide please click here.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the Cottage Campaign, we are grateful for every penny you have kindly donated to make this project happen for families facing childhood cancer in the future.