Rockinghorse project round-up 2018

It’s been another incredible year for our charity as we celebrate over 50 years of making life better for sick children in Sussex. Best known for our work with the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, we fund projects to support babies, children and young people.

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.

Through our funding, we strive to make services stimulating, cutting-edge and accessible for the many youngsters who rely on them. As an independent charity, we do not receive any government funding and solely rely on the generous support of local businesses, schools, trusts, community groups and individuals; people like YOU.

Over the past year, we have launched three successful appeals in support of the county’s most poorly babies and children. The support received has enabled us to reach our £100,000 target for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) X-ray appeal. As a vital supporter of the unit, we launched the appeal at the beginning of 2018 to raise funds for a state-of-the-art real-time X-ray imaging facility with the aim to help treat premature babies at the specialist neonatal unit in Brighton.

The new equipment will significantly improve the overall experience of a preterm infant, who typically requires multiple X-rays to be taken during their admission. The machine has been developed to provide neonatal staff at the TMBU with an instant X-ray image, allowing immediate modification of lines and tubes on a premature baby. The new digital imaging system will completely revolutionise the way in which staff can treat their tiny patients.

Back in the summer, we launched a ventilator appeal for the neighbouring Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex). With an increasing number of young patients requiring ventilation as part of their treatment, we committed to providing additional ventilators which will be used by medical staff in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) to treat the hospital’s most poorly patients.

Teamed with funds raised at our annual Rockinghorse Ball, we raised enough funds to purchase not one, not two, but FIVE additional advanced non-invasive ventilators for the Alex. These will have a huge impact in the critical care of children being treated at the hospital and will ensure that all young patients who require this type of medical treatment will receive it immediately.

The new ventilation systems are the best available and combined with the innovative Optiflow breathing systems (also funded by Rockinghorse), consultants and nursing teams can effectively treat children with respiratory issues. The efficiency of the new ventilators will also result in shorter stays in hospital for young patients.

Whilst fundraising for the bigger appeals, we also fund lots of smaller projects all over the county. We pledged our ongoing support for Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in Haywards Heath – Sussex’s only inpatient unit for young people suffering with mental health illnesses – by funding The Rockinghorse Activities Programme throughout 2018 and 2019.

Following a successful pilot scheme in 2015, the programme greatly complements the clinical work of the unit in addition to their education programme. Feedback demonstrates how the activities programme has helped young people at Chalkhill to increase their self-esteem and confidence, improve mental health and well-being as well as developing skills beneficial for further education and independent living upon leaving the unit.

Worthing Hospital has been the recipient of new toys and games for Bluefin children’s ward – dedicated to the care of babies, children and young people. They provide a much-needed distraction to patients and siblings as well as providing a more relaxing environment for families to interact away from the main ward and hospital beds.

We also continue to support the dedicated Play Team at the Alex by providing regular funding in recognition of the importance of play therapy in hospital. As well as this, we have worked with local schools to create two new murals which have added a wonderful splash of colour to the High Dependency and Medical wards.

In November, we launched an appeal to improve the post-natal care of newborn babies within the Sussex community. We’re raising funds for bilirubin monitors to support the Community Midwife Team and help them detect jaundice in newborn babies during home visits. These monitors will be used by a team of 75 community midwives based at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

Between them they cover 500 square miles throughout Sussex, visiting GP surgeries and children’s centres as well as looking after 6,000 mums and babies every year throughout their pregnancies and births. One of the most serious conditions that the community midwives look out for in newborns is jaundice. We have pledged to purchase the same monitoring equipment used by the A&E department so that the Community Midwife Team can carry out post-natal check-ups on new babies at home and in clinics.

We would be so grateful for your support again this year as we continue to make a difference to the lives of sick and disadvantaged babies, children and young people in Sussex. To find out more, please get in touch by calling us on 01273 330044.

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