Supporting our project partners at Christmas

Tis the season of festive cheer and giving which is why the Rockinghorse team become a little busier than usual as Christmas day approaches…

All year round we fundraise to provide our partner hospitals and centres in Sussex with equipment and resources to make them the very best they can be for our children, should they ever need them. We believe that children should always be children, no matter where they are, and none more so than at Christmas time.

Each year we launch a special Christmas appeal to enable you, our supporters, to donate to a specific project or cause. This Christmas, our appeal is supporting the Community Midwife Team in Sussex. Serving 500 square miles across the county and looking after 6,000 mums and babies throughout their pregnancies and births, the 75-strong team make 40-60 home visits a day as well as visiting clinics and GP surgeries in local towns and villages.

We have pledged to fund bilirubin monitors to enable them to detect jaundice in newborn babies at home or in community clinics. At present, babies suspected of having jaundice are sent to A&E for a test. This experience can leave mum and baby exposed to infection only a few days after leaving the hospital. By equipping community midwives with the same monitoring equipment used in hospital, they can make an accurate diagnosis without mum and baby having to go back into hospital. Only if a baby is confirmed to have jaundice will they be readmitted to hospital.

In addition to our annual Christmas appeal, we also work with local businesses, schools and community groups to provide presents and gifts for babies, children and young people at our partner hospitals and centres. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown this year and are so grateful for the incredible support.

Your generosity has meant that this year, we’ve been able to deliver presents to young patients at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, Bluefin Ward in Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. Elsewhere, we’ve also delivered gifts to young people at Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, Drove Road respite centre, Tudor House respite centre and Seaside View children’s centre thanks to your wonderful generosity.

Every year, we also fund a Christmas party specifically for outpatients of the Alex. We work with the hospital’s dedicated Play Team to organise the party and arrange for entertainment and a festive grotto to welcome the big man himself – Santa! This year’s outpatients Christmas party took place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel in Brighton on Thursday 21 December and was attended by 180 children plus their parents and siblings. Next year we hope to make it even bigger!

But of course, it doesn’t stop there. As the big day approaches, we’ve also been busy working with Lucy Pond, who set up Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project, to support this year’s amazing Christmas hampers delivery. Along with her husband Simon, Lucy founded the project in memory of her son Aidan, following her own experience of spending time in hospital at Christmas.

Now in its fourth year, the project provides hampers to families in the Alex and neighbouring Trevor Mann Baby Unit on Christmas day. Each hamper contains everything a family would need to enjoy a Christmas dinner, teamed with lots of lovely treats and gifts to make it extra special for what is a difficult time for anyone having to spend Christmas day in hospital. Each year over 55 hampers are created and gifted to families. As well as that, the project organises volunteers to cook the Christmas dinners for families on the day itself. It really is such a special project which we are so proud to support.

To each and every one of you who has helped to make this Christmas extra special for those less fortunate than ourselves, thank you so much and may we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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