First CLIC Sargent Home from Home opens in Belfast

CLIC Sargent has opened a new Home from Home to provide free accommodation for families whose children are undergoing cancer treatment at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

First CLIC Sargent Home from Home opens in Belfast

Minister for Health, Edwin Poots joined a host of special guests including former World  featherweight boxing champion Barry McGuigan and his wife Sandra, both of whom are Patrons of CLIC Sargent, at the launch of the charity’s first ever ‘Home from Home’ in Northern Ireland.

Located within a ‘slipper walk’ from the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, the home will be used by families whose children are undergoing a cancer treatment at the hospital.

Currently families in Northern Ireland dealing with childhood cancer can face an average round trip of 95 miles, several times per week in order to receive a cancer treatment and spend an additional £360 per month. Costs will include travel, fuel, meals and accommodation.  The CLIC Sargent Children’s Homes from Home will go someway in helping to tackle these costs.

Designed with the families in mind, the home comprises four large en suite family bedrooms, communal living and kitchen spaces, a quiet room and play space. 

The children’s Home from Home will be offered to families free of charge and gives them the ability to maintain a sense of a normal family life by keeping the whole family together. The new home will officially open its doors to families in January 2014.

Commenting at the launch of the new home Minister for Health, Edwin Poots said: “I would like to thank CLIC Sargent for their invitation to this opening event. I have been impressed by CLIC Sargent’s excellent work with children, young people, and their families and I thank them for the valuable contribution they make to cancer services.

“We are committed to working in partnership with others to provide the best services that we can. Work carried out by voluntary organisations such as CLIC Sargent complements the work of the health service, and the care and support they provide are greatly appreciated by all those who use them across Northern Ireland.”

In total CLIC Sargent has invested more than £1.5m to establish its first Home from Home in Belfast. The funds will help to support children with cancer and their families at the home for three years.  This would not have been possible without the generosity of the people of Northern Ireland.

Commenting at the launch Barry and Sandra McGuigan, Patrons of the CLIC Sargent Homes from Home Appeal stated: “To be present at the launch of Northern Ireland’s first ever Home from Home is an absolute privilege. Sandra and I have witnessed first hand the need for a home from home in Northern Ireland and we’d would like to thank our fundraising committee and the CLIC Sargent team for their commitment in getting the project off the ground and delivering a truly inspiring home. 

“It’s hard to convey the impact the house will have on families going through their cancer journey…not only will it help reduce the costs associated to cancer, but we are confident it will provide a place were families will feel at ‘home’ and an environment that allows families to support one another through what is a very stressful time. We are extremely proud of the work achieved to date and we look forward to supporting the Appeal as it moves into its second phase in early 2014.”

The Northern Ireland Homes from Home appeal is a £3.7million capital project and is the largest undertaken by CLIC Sargent in Northern Ireland. The Children’s Home from Home marks the first phase of the Appeal. CLIC Sargent plans to start phase two of the Appeal in early 2014 by building a similar style home for young people aged between 16 and 24 years of age. The home will be within walking distance of the Belfast City Hospital and Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.

Commenting on the Appeal to date Daphne Pullen, CLIC Sargent, Chair of Trustees said: “It is fantastic to finally launch our first ‘Home from Home’ in Northern Ireland.  We’ve been working on the NI Homes from Home for a number of years now, and it has taken a lot of hard work to be in a position to open what is our ninth Home from Home in the UK.  I’d like to take this opportunity to pay special thanks to our Patrons, Barry and Sandra McGuigan and the fundraising committee for the tireless effort and support throughout the Appeal to date.

“Put simply, we would not be in this position if it was not for the amazing generosity of the people of Northern Ireland.  They have supported the Appeal every step of the way and have gone to great lengths to raise the money needed to open the Children’s Home form Home.  As we move into the second phase of the Appeal I very much hope they will continue to support CLIC Sargent and do all they can to help us reach our remaining £1m target and to make the teenager and young adult home a reality.”

To keep up to date with the CLIC Sargent’s Northern Ireland Homes from Home Appeal or to make a donation please visit: www.clicsargent.org.uk/northernireland-appeal

For more information, an interview or images please contact Gareth Colhoun on 028 9072 5780 or email: gareth.colhoun@clicsargent.org.uk.

About childhood cancer
Each week two children and young people in Northern Ireland are told they have cancer, and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families, from diagnosis onwards. For more information visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.  

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