The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton has welcomed the opening of its newly refurbished family rooms within the Oncology Day Care ward.
The Blencowe Family Rooms were officially opened on Thursday 7 March thanks to funding from Rockinghorse children’s charity and they are already having a positive impact on young patients receiving treatment on the ward, as well as their families.
The rooms were opened by Michael and his wife Sarah Blencowe. In October 2017, during Rockinghorse’s 50th anniversary celebrations, they donated an incredible £45,000 to the charity in support of their work at the Alex – and in particular, the oncology services provided at the hospital.
As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, Rockinghorse raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment, whilst also providing funding for items and services that create a better environment and experience for a young patient in hospital.
Michael and Sarah Blencowe were joined by their daughters and representatives from both Rockinghorse and the Alex for the opening, following months of planning and refurbishment by the team at Grosvenor Interiors. Specialising in healthcare design, Grosvenor have transformed the rooms into a colourful and vibrant space dedicated to both patients and parents – which are connected by a window between the two rooms.
The first is a play room which provides a much-needed area for young patients to relax and play during treatment and appointments. It is filled with a variety of toys and activities, as well as iPads and a PlayStation console. The second room is a parents’ lounge which provides a comfortable and relaxing seating area where families can meet for consultations or take time for themselves.
Funds were donated to the project by Michael Blencowe and his wife Sarah in memory of Richard Blencowe, who passed away in 2011. His son, Michael Blencowe, spoke of his pride at opening The Blencowe Family Rooms at the children’s hospital, which leaves a lasting legacy to his father.
He said: “We are thrilled with the new entertainment space created for children and their parents at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. We feel very proud to be a part of this project and hope that this space provides some respite for the children and their parents. We are honoured to continue our relationship with this superb charity, supporting the valuable work of the hospital.”
Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, expressed his gratitude, he said: “Thanks to the hugely generous donation from Michael and Sarah Blencowe, we have been able to fund the much-needed refurbishment of the play room and parents lounge on the Oncology ward.
“We are so pleased with the results of the rooms which are bright, colourful and incorporate so many captivating images of our city within the illustrations on the walls. It was wonderful to show Michael and Sarah first-hand the impact of the rooms and we are truly blown away by their support.”
Dr Alice Emond is the Rockinghorse Clinical Psychologist in Paediatric Oncology and spoke about the impact the rooms are having, she said: “The Blencowe Family Rooms have already had a very positive impact on the experience of patients and their families visiting Oncology Day-care. Both patients and their siblings have said how much they look forward to spending time in the new playroom when they visit the ward.
“The well designed and resourced playroom offers a relaxed and fun environment for children of all ages to have access to play opportunities and to interact with each other on their frequent visits to the ward, which is very important. Parents have commented how much they appreciate having their own room, which is modern and comfortable. It provides a calm space to spend time with their families away from the main busy ward.”
Amy Farmer, Play Team Specialist Manager at the Alex, added: “The new rooms in Oncology are fantastic. The Play Room provides a distraction for young patients and the parents lounge gives families a lovely place to sit and watch their children through the window. When patients come back for ongoing treatment it’s a nice place for them to come to and enjoy time away from the medical ward.”
To find out more about Rockinghorse and the work they do to support sick and disadvantaged children, babies and young people in Sussex, visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk.