Families supported by Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project

Children and families spending time in hospital over Christmas can miss their usual treats, but...

Children and families spending time in hospital over Christmas can miss their usual treats, but thanks to Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project, they still got some delicious festive food.

The project was set up eight years ago by parents Lucy and Simon Pond in memory of their little boy Aidan. In partnership with Rockinghorse, they raise funds to gift families spending the festive season in hospital across Sussex with hampers. During 2022 they were able to raise over £3,500 in the run up to Christmas.

The project has continued to be incredibly successful with 90 hampers being gifted to families in the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) in Brighton, the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the Princess Royal Hospital and Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath and Bluefin Ward at Worthing Hospital.

The hampers, containing treats for parents including tea, coffee, a cafetiere, a range of delicious homemade Christmas goodies such as brownies and Christmas pudding and a voucher for a trip to Middle Farm, were delivered on 23 December and Christmas Eve after being packed by a group of kind volunteers. The hampers were put together in partnership with Caroline Davenport from Davenports Catering, who has supported the project from the beginning.

In addition, a team of three volunteers went along to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day to provide a delicious cold buffet for parents with children staying in the hospital and in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit over Christmas.

An amazing 90 hampers were donated this Christmas.

In the run up to Christmas, Lucy spent time getting the hampers ready to deliver to families. This year she was joined by 13 volunteers who gathered to fill, wrap and pack the gifts in Dragon Signs warehouse in Hailsham.

In total, 90 hampers were delivered and distributed to families at the Alex, TMBU, SCBU, Chalkhill and Worthing Hospital. Lucy arrived at the hospitals in style, thanks to a branded van courtesy of Hugh (Caroline’s husband) from Dragon Signs.

Lucy said, “It was fantastic to work with such great volunteers this year, to provide 90 hampers to five paediatric units across Sussex.

“Having been a parent spending Christmas in Hospital with a sick child I know that the hampers will lift spirits of tired and worried parents.

“I’d like to thank to Caroline Davenport Potter, the caterer I work with who creates and handmakes all the food for the hampers and buffet. And also, thanks to Hugh Potter from Dragon Signs who lets us use his warehouse and van to wrap and deliver the hampers. Finally, thanks to Martin Mewes at “Ronald MacDonald house, the play team and all the nurses who help give out the hampers to parents.”

Sarah Webster, one of this year’s volunteers who helped pack the hampers said, “It is such a privilege to be able to give something back after all the care my daughter Amber-Lily received at the Royal Alex. I know too well what it is like as a parent being in hospital with a sick child. Any comfort, whilst trying to stay strong, is much appreciated.”

For more information about the Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project or to donate, click here.