Midfielder Jason Lowe attended the opening of Derian House Children's Hospice's new holiday lodge on Monday afternoon which will give families of children with life-limiting conditions a chance to make precious memories.
Derian House Children’s Hospice, based in Chorley, bought the lodge at Ribby Hall Holiday Village, in Wrea Green, to treat the families it cares for to valuable time together.
The lodge is the second plot on the holiday village owned by the charity, and means that almost 1,000 people a year can now benefit from a free week’s stay.
The Taleb family were the first to stay in the new lodge. For families like theirs, it is a lifeline.
Mum Jo Taleb, whose teenage daughter has a life-limiting illness which means she needs round-the-clock care, said: “Going on holiday is something everyone takes for granted until you’re in our position and you can’t do it. We need a hoist, a shower chair, a wet room, everything.
“Every night, we don’t know if we’re saying goodbye or goodnight. Derian is giving people the opportunity to live your life as a family and not sitting waiting for your child to die. For us to get time to just be ourselves and do our own thing is brilliant.”
The innovative “Derian on Holiday” project was the brainchild of Derian House Chief Executive David Robinson, who wanted to give families every opportunity to create cherished memories.
He said: “Many of our families simply couldn’t have a holiday before now because there was nowhere that catered for their needs. When they arrive they’re overwhelmed. We see tears and laughter and it’s actually overwhelming for us all too.
“We don’t know of any other hospices in the UK that can offer this service, and it’s only down to the generous donations of our supporters that we can do so.”
On Monday afternoon, the ribbon was cut to officially open the new lodge, with Derian on Holiday ambassador Jason Lowe, on hand to help.
He said: “Holidays are where a lot of good memories are made. It’s where pictures are taken and you can look back on them and remember happy times. I’m sure these holiday lodges will benefit families for many years to come.”
Running costs of the new lodge have been funded for the first six months by Thomas Cook.
Gina Robertson, manager of Thomas Cook Leyland branch, said: “Children need a holiday and they get a lot from it. It’s important for development and Derian children shouldn’t miss out. We’re so happy to have been able to help.”
Derian House Children’s Hospice offers respite and end-of-life care to more than 350 families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions from across the North West.
It costs £4million a year to keep its doors open, and yet less than 10% of this comes from statutory funding. For the rest, the charity relies on the generous donations of its supporters.