The Blencowe Family Rooms at the Alex

Michael and Sarah Blencowe with their two daughters.

In 2019, we proudly opened two newly refurbished rooms within the Oncology Day Care ward at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton.

The Blencowe Family Rooms were officially opened on Thursday 7 March 2019 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.

The rooms were opened by Michael and his wife Sarah Blencowe. In October 2017, during our 50th anniversary celebrations, Michael and Sarah donated an incredible £45,000 to Rockinghorse. The funds were gifted in support of our projects at the Alex – and in particular, the oncology services provided at the children’s hospital.

As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment. We 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. It followed 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. The two rooms are connected by a window between them.

The children’s play room is being enjoyed by young Oncology patients.

A new play room and parents lounge

The first new space is a play room which provides an area for young patients to relax and play during treatment and appointments. It’s filled with a variety of toys and activities, including iPads and a PlayStation console. The second room is a parents lounge. The space 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 Alex, 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 Alex. 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 Rockinghorse whilst 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.”

The parents lounge is providing a relaxed area away from the main ward.

Providing a relaxed and fun environment

Dr Alice Emond is the Rockinghorse Clinical Psychologist in Paediatric Oncology. She spoke about the impact the rooms are having, and said: “The Blencowe Family Rooms are having a very positive impact on the experience of patients and their families visiting Oncology Day Care. Patients and their siblings have commented 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. The space encourages play and interaction between patients on their frequent visits to the ward, which is very important. Parents have said 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 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.”

Take a look at the official opening of The Blencowe Family Rooms by watching the video below…