Projects funded in 2016

A big THANK YOU to all our supporters who helped us fund some very special projects in 2016. We have provided not only critical equipment and vital support services, but also lots of lovely extras which really help to make a child’s hospital experience as positive as can be. Here are some of the projects you enabled us to fund…

Portable entertainment units

Just before Christmas, we purchased three portable entertainment units for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton. These units can be used in waiting areas and on the wards to help create a better experience for the children and young people spending time at the hospital. Each unit includes an HD gaming monitor and an X-Box as well as two X-Box controllers with games and videos suitable for age groups treated at the Alex. The introduction of these units wouldn’t have been possible without the funding provided by Andrew Nash from Sussex Promotions.


Paediatric A&E room

The renovation of the paediatric room at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath has proved a great addition to the services already provided there. The room which caters for younger patients, is situated within the A&E department and also includes a designated waiting area for parents and children, equipped with toys and a TV. The paediatric room has been developed to provide an effective space to care for poorly children, away from an adult environment. 


Therapeutic activities

Following a successful pilot scheme in 2015, we continued to provide funding for therapeutic activities in 2016 to Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath. The unit looks after young people aged 8-16 who are suffering from varying mental health problems, and the activities we’ve funded have greatly complemented Chalkhill’s clinical work, helping the young people cared there manage their own emotional behaviour. As part of our 50th year appeal in 2017, we will continue to raise funds to support the unit in this way. 


Play equipment

We’re proud to support the team of dedicated Play Specialists at the Alex by funding items to help them improve a young patient’s experience at the hospital. Every quarter, we make a donation so that toys, games, colouring books, puzzles, books and arts and crafts can be purchased for the many babies, children and teenagers that spend time at the Alex. The Play Specialists help alleviate what can be a very stressful time for a young patient, and access to comforting items can really help make a difference to their experience. 


Drove Road Garden

Young people at Drove Road residential and short breaks centre can now enjoy the use of play and sensory garden equipment, thanks to funds raised for Rockinghorse at this year’s Brighton Midsummer Charity Ball. Based in Portslade, Drove Road provides accommodation for young people between the ages of 8-18, all of whom have differing levels of learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. We’ve helped to enable the centre to replace the dated garden equipment with functional, physical and sensory play equipment. These items have provided the young people with an outdoor space for them to explore and disperse their energy in a safe way, whilst also encouraging interaction with their peers and staff. 

Whoopsadaisy equipment

We are very pleased to have provided over £6,000 of funding to Whoopsadaisy – a Sussex based charity for children with physical disabilities. They help children affected by disability to live life as independently as possible. Based in Preston Park, the funding provided by Rockinghorse has enabled Whoopsadaisy to purchase a range of equipment to support their work, including; sensory items, play sets, furnishings, educative equipment and a large specially adapted trike, demonstrated by Benji (pictured left). Find out more about the project by clicking here.


Defibrillators for schools

We partnered with The Connor Saunders Foundation to supply ten schools in Sussex with a life-saving defibrillator. The Foundation is working to raise awareness and make as many schools in the Sussex area, heart safe. In support of this campaign, Rockinghorse has provided funding for ten machines, as well as training sessions for pupils and teachers in specially organised first aid workshops. We recently visited year 7 pupils at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy to see them take part in their first aid training session, where they learnt how to use a defibrillator safely and effectively (pictured left). 


Orthoptics Waiting Area Art Project

The refurbishment of the Orthoptics department at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton has been completed and now consists of separate waiting areas for adults and children. The staff were keen to introduce a colourful and playful addition to the children’s area, and thanks to funding from Rockinghorse and Onward Arts, the area has benefited from artwork provided by ceramic artist Angela Evans. The detailing in the tiles includes hidden numbers and letters so as well as tactile exploration, the panels encourage playful interaction between children and parents while they are waiting. 


Positioning equipment

We’ve funded a selection of positioning equipment to benefit young patients on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton. These reusable positioning aids are being used to position infants and children who may be vulnerable due to their size, or may face a challenge to maintain a certain position due to a physical disability or lack of control over their movement. Every young patient who is admitted to HDU needs some assistance with their positioning, be it lying or sitting, and the addition of these specialist pieces of positioning equipment will benefit around 450 children every year. 


Storz C-Mac Videolaryngoscope

Staff on the Theatre Ward at the Alex now have access to a Storz C-Mac Videolaryngoscope, to assist with the ventilation of children with difficult airways, thanks to funding from Rockinghorse. Approximately 5,000 children undergo elective and emergency anaesthesia at the hospital every year, and difficult or failed intubation can cause brain damage or even death, due to low oxygen levels. The ‘C-Mac’ will improve an anaesthetist’s ability, often in a pressured emergency situation, to see the patients’ airway and accurately insert a tube to the correct depth. 


Aeroneb Pro-X

We’ve provided four Aeroneb Pro-X machines for the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Alex, providing an effective, non-invasive delivery system for inhaled (nebulised) medication. The effective dose delivery means it can be given safely to any aged infant and child, and is noise free, allowing a young patient to sleep whilst it is in use. Used in the treatment of respiratory conditions, such as bronchiolitis, the machines are expected to benefit around 350 children every year. 


SEA LIFE Sensory Room

January welcomed the official opening of a brand new SEA LIFE themed Sensory Room for young patients at the Alex. We teamed up with the SEA LIFE Brighton and children's charity Merlin's Magic Wand to make the Sensory Room a reality for thousands of youngsters who require the services of the dedicated children's hospital. The room, which is located within the play area on level 10 of the Alex, is the first official SEA LIFE themed sensory space of its kind in the UK. The unique Sensory Room is fitted with specialist equipment which all help to create an under-the-sea multi-sensory experience for young patients, to use as both a learning and therapeutic area.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

We’ve funded four Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems for the Alex, to support children with diabetes. The equipment will allow paediatricians to better understand young patients sugar profiles and will help in adjusting the insulin to avoid both low and high sugar levels, which are detrimental to the overall health of a child with diabetes. With four systems in place, up to 80 episodes of continuous monitoring can be undertaken by the team of clinicians, which is more appropriate given the number of patients with the condition under the care of the Alex.


Jaundice Monitor

Thanks to your support, our Christmas appeal became a reality and we raised the £4,100 needed to purchase a specialist bilirubin machine for the maternity ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. This has resulted in newborns being discharged home quicker, and a reduction in the delay for jaundiced babies needing light therapy treatment. Pip Andrews, Postnatal Lead Midwife, says: “A big thank you to everyone who donated to Rockinghorse’s appeal. Having the jaundice meter means there has already been a reduction in the amount of blood tests required, and we are able to send parents’ home with their baby, reassured by the result of the non-invasive test that we can perform with the machine.”

Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project

In memory of their son Aidan, parents Lucy and Simon Pond set up this very special project to provide families spending time at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, with festive dinner kits at Christmas. We’re proud to have been supporting the project since it began in 2014, and have helped fund the hampers over the last two years, which we help deliver to around 50 families at the Alex on Christmas Eve. Find out more about this special project, by clicking here.


A&E Trauma Room

The Children’s Emergency Department (CED) at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton opened a new specialist Trauma Room in December, thanks to funding provided by us. With over 25,000 patients attending the CED each year, the Trauma Room enables staff to use a new pain relief system to treat serious injuries without the need of anaesthetic or an operation. The unit allows patients to receive non-surgical treatment thanks to the installation of a medical gas scavenger system.


Cardiac Monitors

You helped us raise tens of thousands of pounds towards five cardiac monitors which are now in use at the Children’s Emergency Department at the Alex. Jason Gray, Paediatric Nurse Consultant, explains their importance: “The monitors allow us to maintain continuous observation of seriously unwell children. Prior to their purchase, we relied heavily on prioritising those children that needed a monitor most and had to move equipment between patients. They allow us to transfer very ill and critically injured children between departments and also enables nursing staff to quickly identify any deterioration in a child’s clinical condition. On behalf of the team here, I would like to say a huge thank you!”

KwickScreens for A&E

Designed for hospital environments as a dividing screen, KwickScreen is a flexible room divider, which is both adaptable and colourful. The screen is fast-becoming a popular alternative to hospital curtains, providing extra privacy in a paediatric environment. We have funded two screens for the Children’s Emergency Department at the Alex, which have been customised with aquatic and seaside views, to help make an all round better experience and environment for our young patients. 


Endodontic system for paediatric dentistry

Dental trauma can occur at any time, especially when children are playing sport, cycling, or have accidentally tripped or fell over. We have provided funding for an endodontic system within the paediatric dentistry service at the Alex – this equipment is used in the provision of root canal treatment in children, following an accident. With many young patients being referred to the Alex by their family dentist following a trauma, the system allows staff to treat them safely, more efficiently, and can also improve treatment outcomes. It is estimated that the equipment would benefit around 100 children per year. 


Critical care ventilators

Following the launch of the Sabrina’s Wish campaign, we funded four ventilators for the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Alex. The campaign highlighted the need for extra ventilators as Dr Kamal Patel, a Paediatric Consultant at the Alex, explains: “Hundreds of patients will benefit from the non-invasive ventilation (NIV) equipment each year. The ventilator gives us detailed information which allows us to adapt to each patient and achieve the synchrony required for the treatment to succeed. There has been a revolution in the theory and practice of NIV at the Alex and we have introduced the UK’s first NIV in Bronchiolitis care pathway.”   

Theatre cars

Every day on the Surgical Ward at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex), dozens of children and babies have procedures ranging from routine operations through to life-saving surgery. To help alleviate anxiety, we purchased two electronic theatre cars for patients well enough to ‘drive themselves’ to theatre. We purchased a red Mini Cooper and green quad bike which are now a permanent fixture on the ward, demonstrated by young patient Lotte (pictured left).


Toy boxes and baby baskets

Young patients admitted to the Alex are now given a toy box or baby basket thanks to funds raised from our Dress as an Elf event. The baby baskets are filled with sensory items, rattles, colourful mobiles, cuddly toys and blankets and toy boxes contain books, musical instruments, colouring activities and comforting items. Amy Farmer from the Play Team at the Alex, says: “The toy boxes and baby baskets are a much-needed gift for our young patients, focusing on their holistic well-being in addition to their health. The toys provided can help promote their developmental progress, whilst providing fun and comfort.”

A&E murals

We have helped fund a number of murals commissioned for the Children’s Emergency Department at the Alex, which have transformed the sub-wait children’s play area, adolescent room and adjoining corridors. These murals make the room feel less clinical, allowing children and young people to feel more inclined to relax in what can be a distressing environment. Our thanks to students from Sussex Downs College in Lewes who created an amazing wildlife-themed piece of artwork within the A&E department. 


PANDA resuscitation and warmer unit

Rockinghorse is a proud supporter of the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) based within the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath — the unit is a sister site of the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton. We are pleased to have donated a PANDA resuscitation and baby warmer unit for the ward, to help with the emergency care of very sick babies; plus we have also provided new beds and bedding for the adjoining Parent Rooms on the ward.


A&E Sensory Room

The Children’s Accident and Emergency Department (CED) at the Alex is one of the hospital’s busiest units, treating over 27,000 young patients a year. Working with hospital staff, we have created a specialist sensory treatment room for patients with additional needs. This area provides a safe and calming space for the emergency treatment of patients with special needs. It is also used as a private and quiet observation room for children and their families who need space away from the busy main ward.



We’ve been supporting sick children for 50 years
Read more
Young patients are treated at the Alex every year
Read more
Babies are treated at the TMBU every year
Read more
Babies are treated at SCBU every year
Read more