Projects funded in 2019

Working in partnership with local hospitals, respite centres and specialist services, we fund projects which focus on improving children’s physical and emotional well-being, while providing additional support services for parents and carers.

Here you can find out a little bit more about some of the projects in Sussex that we’ve recently funded…


Bilirubinometers for the Community Midwife Team

Your support enabled us to successfully fund our appeal for the Community Midwife Team in Sussex. We pledged to fund Bilirubinometers for the team of 75 community midwives who look after over 6,000 mums and babies every year throughout their pregnancy, during home visits and appointments at GP surgeries and paediatric centres.

One of the most serious conditions that the community midwives look out for in newborns is jaundice and if left untreated, can cause long-term damage to a baby. We’ve funded Bilirubinometers so that midwives can detect jaundice during home visits, without the need of new mum’s having to go back into their local hospital for what is a simple, non-invasive and accurate test.

By equipping community midwives in Sussex with transcutaneous Bilirubinometers to carry out monitoring as part of their post-natal care, only babies tested positive for jaundice would be sent to hospital for further tests and treatment.

Project update…

Funded in 2019, the Bilirubinometers are being used by midwives and maternity support workers. They are benefiting patients attending community-based clinics every day of the week in various locations throughout Sussex, and during weekend clinics at Sussex House in Brighton.

Kelly Parker, Community Midwifery Manager, says, “So far, we’ve used the equipment to test approximately 250 babies’ bilirubin levels in just eight months. All of these babies would have previously had to go be referred to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, or the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

“From the 250 babies tested, only 15 of them needed to be sent into hospital for further investigation, treatment, or admission. This means that not only have we saved these new parents the hassle of a trip to hospital, but we’ve also taken the pressure off our colleagues in A&E.

“I am so grateful to Rockinghorse for funding our Bilirubinometers. I hope in the future that we can expand the service as much as possible, so that we can reach even more families.”

Blood pressure monitors for the Surgical Ward at the Alex

Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to fund three new Dinamap monitors for use on the Surgical Ward at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton.

The 12-bed ward cares for babies and children requiring a wide range of surgical procedures. These range from serious emergency operations to planned surgeries. Due to the nature of the ward, it is always at full capacity.

The Dinamap monitors are needed so that nursing staff can assess a young patients blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen and temperature. The monitors are portable and lightweight, making them easy and quick to use on such a busy ward.

Prior to the three new Dinamap monitors, staff only had access to three which were shared among all 12 patients which meant a constant prioritisation of care. This proved especially difficult when nurses were caring for two or more children who required constant monitoring post-surgery.

Having access to six Dinamap monitors now means that four can be allocated to young patients who need constant observation, with two for use on children who only need to be monitored every four hours.

The machines have made such a difference to the ward. They are enabling nursing staff to provide better care whilst saving time and taking away stress from staff and parents.

Veinsites for the Alex

As the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment as well as providing funding for therapies and services. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Alex, we’ve funded pieces of equipment called Veinsites. The equipment will benefit the dedicated Children’s Emergency Department, Medical Ward, High Dependency Unit, Day Case and Phlebotomy Service.

This specialist piece of equipment has enabled staff to carry out difficult cannulations in young patients with less stress and discomfort for the child. By using the Veinsite, there has been a reduction in attempts for a cannula to be successfully inserted as the equipment makes the veins clearer for the practitioner.

Project update…

Dr Catherine Bevan, Clinical Director of Children’s Services at the Alex, explains how the Veinsite equipment is having an impact on HDU, she said: “The new Veinsite is amazing. The equipment is enabling staff working on the High Dependency Unit to find veins in patients which would previously have been incredibly difficult to access. Not only are we able to do this in a virtually pain-free way, but also usually on the first try. This leads to much less anxiety from the child, and results in quicker treatment.

“There is also an unforeseen additional benefit of the Veinsite, which is that it is quite ‘sci-fi’ in both appearance and function; the patients seem to really like this futuristic element, and it is a good distraction. The large visor that we wear is like something from Star Trek and we encourage the children to try it on for themselves so they can see their veins and feel involved. This approach is enormously helpful with compliance, leading to lower anxiety about the whole procedure.”

Toys and activities for Bluefin Ward

Bluefin Ward in Worthing Hospital is dedicated to the care of the hospital’s babies, children and young people. We’re supporting Bluefin’s play team by providing funding for toys, games and activities to benefit young patients admitted to the ward. Their play and teenage rooms provide a much-needed distraction to patients and siblings as well as providing a nice environment for families to interact and relax in, away from the main ward and hospital beds.

The funding will enable play team staff to provide toys, craft materials, activity and reading books, DVD’s, iTunes vouchers and many more items to help distract young patients spending time in Bluefin. Providing items like this helps to create a more positive experience for the hospital’s younger patients and can also help them recover quicker.



Diabetes transmitters for the Alex

The Children and Young Person’s Diabetes Team at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton cares for and supports over 200 patients with type 1 diabetes in the surrounding areas. Two years ago, we funded five Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems for the diabetes team that are loaned out to parents of children who are struggling to manage their blood glucose levels.

The devices have proved successful in encouraging and promoting better control of a child’s diabetes and provide support in times of stress. In order for the glucose monitoring systems to continue to function, we are funding the replacement of transmitters for the systems (which have a 12-18 months battery life) as well as plugs and chargers.



Hill Park School Drivedeck

Hill Park School in Portslade is a 78-pupil community special school which caters for young people from 4-16 years of age. Pupils range from having profound and multiple learning disabilities to severe or moderate learning disabilities. Specially trained staff at the school work alongside health and social care colleagues to maximise the potential of all their pupils and to provide the best for all learners.

We’ve recently funded a Smile Smart Drivedeck to benefit wheelchair users at the school. Replacing their previous 20-year-old platform wheelchair base, the new powered platform base enables children to convert their specialist static seating into a powered wheelchair. The Drivedeck enables children to sit in their individual seating system and access powered wheelchair mobility using either a hand or head switch or a joystick.

Access to this piece of equipment means that pupils can enjoy increased participation in P.E. and physical activities at the school. The Drivedeck system includes a track which can be used inside and outside so that wheelchair bound pupils can also access the playground during playtime.

Project update…

Lesley Harding Senior Specialist Occupational Therapist shared with us this lovely feedback in October, she said: “I just wanted to extend my sincere thanks to Rockinghorse for funding the Smile Technology platform base at Hill Park School. We’ve already used it for a couple of children with complex physical and learning difficulties and it was an emotional experience – particularly seeing the four-year-old, who has just started school and was using the platform for her first time. We were unsure if she would understand how to use it, but she immediately reached for and activated the switch with her hand which moved the chair forward and she smiled in response. She then achieved Star of the Week award from her teacher.

“The platform is a joy to use for us adults too. It reliably charges, is easy to manoeuvre, can be used inside or outside, and has a full kit of switch options for us to use with the students. Thank you so much for realising our dreams to make the experience of powered mobility much more available to our students.”

Resuscitaires for the TMBU

We’ve purchased a resuscitaire to enable training of resuscitations skills at birth to benefit the neonatal service at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) and Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) in Brighton. The Panda Resuscitaire is essential for teaching the skills required to resuscitate an infant at birth. It is a complex system and mirrors those that would be used in clinical practice.

The training resuscitaire is used for day-to-day in situ simulation and is also used in the two national newborn resuscitation courses run by the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust (BSUH). The resuscitaire allows trained staff to teach essential resuscitation skills to doctors, nurses, midwives and advanced nurse practitioners both in situ on the ward and on nationally recognised resuscitation courses.

The need for resuscitation at birth is unpredictable and it is essential that any member of the TMBU and RSCH neonatal service needs to be able to promptly and effectively resuscitate newborns when the need arises, therefore reducing risk to any newborn infant who needs resuscitation.

Toys for Seaside View

Seaside View Child Development Centre is located within Brighton General Hospital. The centre assesses, diagnoses and supports over 100 children, babies and young people a week from birth to 19 years of age with additional needs by providing support, training and advice for parents.

We’ve funded brand new toys for their four clinic rooms and reception area to support the nursery team and paediatricians, replacing their previous old and shabby ones. Having access to these toys provides a good distraction if a child is feeling anxious or worried ahead of, or during their appointment.




Whoopsadaisy equipment

Whoopsadaisy is a small Brighton charity helping children with physical disabilities live their life as independently as possible. The service provides weekly under 5’s groups, Saturday sessions and holiday clubs for 5 to 12-year-olds. In 2018 we funded two new pieces of specialist equipment and this year, we have given them further funding for extra equipment.

Using the Conductive Education of learning, Whoopsadaisy helps children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders to build their physical, social and communication skills. The equipment will improve the children’s experience of, and their progress within, their groups, sessions and clubs. It will also help staff to respond to the children’s changing physical and sensory needs and to help them achieve their goals of improved mobility, confidence and independence, with around 40 children benefiting from the new equipment.

As part of our ongoing support of Whoopsadaisy, we have funded custom-made pieces of equipment that can attach/detach to furniture to meet the children’s growing needs, a trike to help children whose legs are severely affected by their disability, and a range of sensory equipment in order to offer a wider variety of sensory stimulation to help motivate the children and encourage their physical progress.


The Blencowe Family Rooms at the Alex

The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton has welcomed the opening of its newly refurbished family rooms within the Oncology Day Care ward on level 9. The Blencowe Family Rooms were officially opened on Thursday 7 March thanks to funding from Rockinghorse. The rooms are already having a positive impact on young patients receiving treatment on the ward, as well as their families.

An incredible £45,000 was donated by Michael and Sarah Blencowe in support of our projects at the Alex, and in particular, the oncology services provided at the children’s hospital. The two rooms have been transformed into a colourful and vibrant space dedicated to both patients and parents.

The first is a play room which provides an area for young patients to relax and play during treatment and appointments. It is filled with a variety of toys and games, as well as iPads and a PlayStation console. The second room is a parents lounge providing a comfortable and relaxing seating area where families can meet for consultations or take time for themselves.

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 ands their siblings have said how much they look forward to spending time in the new playroom when they visit the ward.”

To find out more about The Blencowe Family Rooms, please click here.

Beads of Life project

As the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment as well as providing funding for therapies and services. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Alex, we’ve funded a project dubbed Beads of Life for the team of Play Specialists.

This unique project will enable the play team to keep track of a long-term patient’s hospital journey. The idea is that each bead will relate to a different hospital procedure, for example, a red bead will mean that a young patient has had a blood test. These beads will be made into a bracelet and will give both the patient and their family, a visual representation of their hospital journey.

Through the Beads of Life project, the child and their family can take control of what can be a tough and difficult situation – receiving a special bead for each procedure and milestone during their time at the Alex. It will also offer the opportunity to reflect on their journey and the emotional process they may have been through as well as helping to explain their hospital visits and admissions to friends and other family members.

Support for parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis

As the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment as well as providing funding for therapies and services. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Alex, we’ve funded a mindfulness course for parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic, chronic and life-limiting condition which requires ongoing daily management (intensive physiotherapy, medications and dietary requirements), regular hospitalisations and routine clinic visits. Young people with Cystic Fibrosis and their parents can often be at an increased risk of compromised well-being and mental health difficulties.

The Paediatric Psychosocial Support Service (PPSS) provides psychological care for children and young people at the Alex. This is a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals who provide treatment and care for children and young people with Cystic Fibrosis in East Sussex. Through this service, we’re funding a parent forum to teach mindfulness skills to parents of young patients with Cystic Fibrosis to help them manage and cope with stressful and difficult situations.

Project update…

The first mindfulness course ran from November 2018 until January this year. Following the sessions, we have received some very positive feedback from parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis who have benefited from the course. Parent 1, said: “It has meant so much to be with people who truly understand what it is like to have a child with Cystic Fibrosis. No-one else can understand.”

Parent 2, said: “I feel this experience has helped me put so many things in perspective in a way I would not have considered before.” Parent 3, said: “I really enjoyed being in a group with other CF parents as the condition can be very isolating since the children can’t socialise with other children who have CF. As parents you can feel quite alone. Because of this, it was really nice to get together as a group.”

Rockinghorse Bounce Club

We’re supporting Ringmer Primary and Nursery School by funding an after-school club. Launched in September 2019, the ‘Rockinghorse Bounce Club’ has been developed for pupils who find attending the regular groups more challenging. The introduction of Bounce Club is providing an opportunity for children to access further sensory and motor play sessions. Having access to a club like this helps with their movement skills, attention and regulation.

Thanks to Rockinghorse funding, Ringmer Primary has purchased therapeutic equipment for the after-school club. The specialist equipment and toys are accessible to students at other times during the week too if needed.




Drove Road activities programme

Drove Road is a respite and residential service located in Portslade. The centre cares for young people aged 8-18 years old with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Through the services provided by Drove Road, young people are encouraged to explore social and leisure opportunities and build upon independent living skills.

We’re funding an activities programme for young people, to help promote their involvement in the local community and build positive relationships within their peer group and members of the public. The project will encourage young people at Drove Road to enjoy new experiences, create new friendships and support both their physical well-being and mental health by participating in activities they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to access.



Summer holiday outings at Tudor House

Tudor House is a respite centre in Brighton that provides residential facilities to children and young people with severe learning and physical disabilities. We’ve worked closely with Tudor House over the years, and more recently, funded a sensory log cabin for their garden.

Last summer, we funded holiday outings for the young people who rely on the service provided at Tudor House. These experiences allowed them access to a variety of exciting outings in further afield places, offering the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers.

Many of the young people at Tudor House have limited social and leisure opportunities when they are at home. 12 of the young people cared for at Tudor House enjoyed days out at Arundel Wetlands, the Bluebell Railway, and a trip to London during the summer, amongst many others.


Summer activities at Drove Road

Drove Road is a respite and residential service for young people in Brighton. They care for youngsters aged 8-18 years old with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Over the years we have worked closely with Drove Road and have previously funded a brand-new garden and outdoors activity space.

Last summer, we funded day trips and activities for the young people who rely on the service provided by Drove Road. These experiences helped boost self-esteem and their social enjoyment levels, as well as providing a positive contribution to real-life skills.

Many of the young people at Drove Road have limited social and leisure opportunities. 10 young people from Drove Road benefited from the summer outings, including days out at Drusillas, Borde Hill Gardens, and Chessington World of Adventures, to name just a few.