• New haven for children and young people with cancer to be built near the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People
• The charity needs to raise £425,000 to cap a three year, £3.3 million campaign
• Major supporter the Crerar Hotels Trust has promised to double any donations
Families can face an average round-trip of 56 miles every day just to get treatment in Edinburgh, but CLIC Sargent’s homes give them somewhere to stay, cook meals and spend time together.
The charity needs to raise £425,000 in order to complete its £3.3 million campaign to build new homes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, following the decision to move the children’s hospitals in both cities.
Now fundraising partner the Crerar Hotels Trust has pledged to double the money raised by matching any donations made up to that £425,000 total.
CLIC Sargent’s current Home from Home, CLIC Villa, has supported thousands of families since it was opened in 1997. More than 300 families have stayed at the house over the last two years, many for several months.
The new Home from Home, designed by LDN Architects, will be built on Old Dalkeith Road. It will have nine en-suite bedrooms, as well as communal kitchens, laundry and social areas, helping families spend more time together and avoid often debilitating travel costs.
A haven of normality
One of the first families to stay at the house was that of Euan Mutch, who was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was just three years old, in April 1998.
His mother, Kirsten, said CLIC Villa was a vital lifeline when they realised they were facing many months of treatment.
She said: “It’s a surreal moment when it happens and you’re told that your child has cancer. Suddenly you’re one of those families you see in hospital on TV and think will never be you. It’s like you’re in a nightmare.
“We live the other side of Edinburgh, but when your child is that young and poorly and doesn’t want you to leave them for a second, it can be completely overwhelming.
“The house was absolutely brilliant...It was a haven of normality away from the world of hospitals and treatment.”
Euan, now a healthy 22-year-old, is about to graduate with a masters in
computing and electronics.
Kirsten wanted to give something back to the house and volunteers regularly at the house.
She said: “It’s been wonderful to carry on supporting CLIC Sargent through volunteering and to help in a small way to support other families going through the same traumatic experiences.
“Although it will be emotional moving from the current house we are looking forward to having a new home, providing better facilities for families that will stay there in the future.”
CLIC Sargent chief executive Kate Lee said: “We know that hundreds of young lives are going to be struck by cancer in the coming years and CLIC Sargent is dedicated to being there for every one of them. That is why this new Home from Home in Edinburgh is so vitally important.
“A cancer diagnosis means normal life stops for the child or young person, and their family. Treatment is gruelling and often happens many miles from home. This new home will be a welcoming, calm place where families can concentrate on being together and relax away from the wards.
“We are so close to hitting our fundraising target and want to thank all of our supporters and donors for their help in completing this project. We are hugely grateful to the Crerar Hotels Trust for offering to double public donations. We can’t wait to open the doors of the new home.”
Paddy Crerar said: “Crerar Hotels Trust is delighted in every way to support CLIC Sargent. Their tireless work makes a massive difference to countless families struggling with the physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment.
“I hope our customers can be as proud as we are that together we have been able to help CLIC Sargent through our Charitable Trust quite frankly, because of their patronage.
“Everyone involved with Crerar Hotels and our Charitable Trust has been inspired by the courage of the families that find themselves battling this terrible disease. The help CLIC Sargent gives them is priceless – wish them all the very best and look forward to continuing our support.”
In 2013, CLIC Sargent launched its Scotland Home from Home Appeal - a £3.3m appeal in response to the NHS’s plans to relocate the Glasgow and Edinburgh hospitals caring for children and young people with cancer.
Thanks to the generosity of the charity’s supporters, including the Crerar Hotels Trust and Children with Cancer, CLIC Sargent opened Marion’s House in Glasgow in 2015, as well as securing the site for the new home in Edinburgh.