First project day of 2023

Staff from local children’s hospitals were invited to the latest project day to pitch their...

Staff from local children’s hospitals were invited to the latest project day to pitch their ideas for funding to staff and trustees from Rockinghorse.

Here at Rockinghorse we regularly look for projects, equipment, and services to fund which will help make the lives of poorly children, young people and their families happier and more comfortable. This could be big pieces of expensive medical equipment like neo-natal ventilators, or smaller things like books and toys to help the time in hospital pass more quickly.

Whilst the larger items are important, often items for less than £5,000 can have an equally big impact. Which is why we put the call out to our Champions, staff who work across the Alex, Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) and children’s healthcare settings throughout the county, to find out what equipment under £5,000 would make their lives, and those of their patients, better.

The project team learning learning about a new project

Once we received the application forms for this round, we arranged meetings at the hospital where the Champions could come and pitch their ideas to a panel of staff and Trustees.

The session took place at the end of April in the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, and it was another great opportunity to understand how the support that your donations provide can make a difference.

All together we were presented with eight different requests which included, amongst others, a specialist children’s laparoscopic set to help surgeons perform complex surgery in smaller spaces, distraction toys for a new audiology department at the children’s hospital in Brighton, a pilot for an acute pain nursing team and some special scales that can accurately measure height and weight at the same time,

Sarah Phillips, Projects and Operations Manager at Rockinghorse, said: “These sessions are a really helpful way for us to not only meet and speak directly with our Champions but to find out exactly what kind of things will make the biggest difference to their work.

“We might think that it’s just the large, expensive medical equipment that makes the most impact but it’s often things that are much lower in cost that can really help.

“And of course, being able to understand exactly how these projects will impact on the babies, children, and young people that we support is always so important. We come away from these sessions feeling like we have a much better understanding of the amazing work that our NHS colleagues do, and how we can continue to support their work.”

One of the projects that was approved at the session was for a neurophysiology department that was relocating from Haywards Heath to the new Louisa Martindale building next to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Whilst they have all their new technical equipment in place, they are in real need of some new toys to help within their clinics. The team works with children of all ages with a range of health issues such as epilepsy, learning disabilities and ADHD. The assessments that they undertake require 22 electrodes to be applied to a child’s head and as you can imagine, this can be difficult for a young person.

So, these toys will be used as a way of distracting the patients so that these important assessments can be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Another project given the green light is a special messaging service for premature and poorly babies in the Special Care Baby Units in Worthing and Chichester.

If parents have a new baby in hospital, it’s often not possible for them to be with them 24hours a day. But this means that they could miss important first steps such as the removal of feeding tubes, their first stoma bag change or even their first smile.

However, VCreate, a secure video messaging service, can help minimise this separation anxiety for parents be enabling staff to securely share messages, photos, and videos with parents of all the moments they miss,

And, once the baby is discharged, parents can download all the messages, videos and photos which they can then keep and share with their family and friends.

After a long morning staff and Trustees were once again blown away by the amazing work being done by our NHS colleagues every day. Sarah added: “Sessions like this really give us a chance to see what we raise money for and how it helps. This means, when it comes to fundraising, we can share these projects with a good understanding of their impact and why people should support them.”