Sussex children’s charity Rockinghorse has given away £50,000 worth of funding for projects to benefit young people across the county.
The charity allocated the grants to 10 different projects at local hospitals, neonatal units and children’s services during a presentation event at the end of April.
Based in Brighton, Rockinghorse supports sick and disadvantaged babies, children and young people. It is best-known as the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex), which was the main beneficiary of the £50,000 funds awarded.
Staff from the Alex met with Rockinghorse trustees and the charity’s Chief Executive, to present their funding requests in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style process. Successful applicants were delivered the good news there and then.
Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse children’s charity, explains, “The initiative proved to be a positive way of releasing funds for much needed projects, whilst meeting with many department representatives from across the hospital face to face.
“It is the perfect example of how we as a charity can impact the children’s hospital effectively, innovatively, and immediately.”
Through its fundraising, the charity raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment. It also funds projects which focus on improving a young person’s physical and emotional well-being, as well as funding additional support services for parents and carers.
The list of equipment being funded, includes; blood pressure monitors for the surgical ward, reflux detection machines for the paediatric gastro-enterology service, Panoptic Ophthalmoscopes for the children’s emergency department, and additional diabetes equipment.
The Alex is also the beneficiary of funding which will enable the hospital to introduce two key new services to its centre of excellence. The first is a paediatric orthopaedic emergency virtual clinic to support children with suspected fractures.
Thomas Crompton, children’s orthopaedic consultant at the Alex, explains more, “A twice-weekly fracture clinic is currently provided by the Alex, which sees almost 5,000 young patients a year.
“In order to reduce travel between hospital sites or departments, the virtual clinic will allow a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to view the X-ray remotely and make an individual plan for each patient.
“Senior physios will then liaise directly with patients and their parents to determine the next steps. This will be supported by online information and videos, so that children can have a visual understanding of what’s happening.”
The second service to be funded by Rockinghorse at the Alex is the Function First Service. Following a two-year pilot, the allocated funding will enable it to become a permanent fixture at the children’s hospital in Brighton.
The Function First Service is better known as the Complex Symptoms Service. It is a multidisciplinary team of specialised professionals who are providing a service for children and young people with medically unexplained symptoms.
Jo Lord from the Function First Service, explains more, “The service is the first of its kind in the UK, bringing together all forms of medically explained and/or functional illnesses under one umbrella.
“Our aim is to ensure that we are not just an evidence-based service, but a pioneering and evolving one that will contribute to ground-breaking research.
“Having a permanent service like this for children and their families to access is of huge importance and benefit to young people within the catchment area of the Alex, right across Sussex.”
Other hospitals to benefit from Rockinghorse funds are Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. The Alex is expanding its children’s cystic fibrosis (CF) and chest centre into West Sussex via both hospitals.
Funding from Rockinghorse will enable the service to purchase a portable lung function machine. The equipment will be used to treat young patients with CF and other chronic chest problems, such as asthma and bronchiectasis.
Rockinghorse Chief Executive, Ryan Heal, says, “It is with great pleasure that we are able to award grants totalling £50,000 to some very worthy recipients.
We are extremely proud to be supporting vital services and ground-breaking projects through our fundraising, as we continue to make a difference to the lives of young people in Sussex.”
To find out more, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk.