Our chosen charity for the next 12 months is…drum roll please….CLIC Sargent!

So this is a new thing for us here at Bright Design, but we have decided to pick a charity to raise money for over a 12-month period. Then we will choose another charity for next year and so on.

To decide who our chosen charity was, we all put suggestions into a hat and then the lucky winner was picked out, fair and square.

But what a great charity we have picked!! We have already started to raise some money and plan to raise much more by doing some fun activities!!

CLIC Sargent are the UK’s leading cancer charity supporting children and young people with a cancer diagnosis. One of the amazing things that CLIC Sargent do, is provide temporary accommodation for families with sick children, within walking distance to Principle Treatment Centres for children with cancer – families have to travel many miles from their home for specialist treatment as often children cannot receive their treatment at their local hospital.

There are 10 Home from Homes across the country that are all run by CLIC Sargent. Each house has a part-time House Manager, Deputy House Manager and a House Keeper. Between the three of them there is usually always someone around to tidy up, empty the bins, make a cup of tea or just have a chat with. Each of the homes are so close to the treatment centres, that it means the families aren’t spending hours in the car to get to and from the centre for visiting hours, or appointments. In some cases when children are receiving radiotherapy, the NHS can’t provide a bed for these patients as the appointments are only 20 minutes long. However, with radiotherapy, the kids have to receive this treatment every day for a set course of days, so families were travelling a couple of hours to get to a 20-minute appointment every day for the length of the course. Now with homes nearby, they can relax, sleep, or play the rest of the day without being in the car or on a bus. Which is all so important as part of their recuperation.

CLIC Sargent invited us to the 9th Birthday celebration of one of their Home from Homes in Nottingham aptly named Billy’s House, after cancer survivor Billy Greenall. His family wanted to give back to the charity by helping to raise enough money to buy a home close to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, so that other families could benefit from it too.

Billy’s House, which opened in 2009, is really lovely, so inviting, and cosy. I can see why they call them Home from Homes. The house was well looked after, recently redecorated with light and airy spaces for cooking, relaxing and playing. But most importantly, spending quality time with the ones close to them, whilst going through this harsh journey of treatment. The house has 6 bedrooms, each can sleep at least a family of four, and most of them have en-suite bathrooms. Two reception rooms, two kitchens and a lovely garden just top off the home beautifully.  Once the families are there they can stay as long as they need to, at no cost at all, which must be such a weight off the family’s mind.

It costs £71,280 per year to run Billy’s House. In addition to this, CLIC Sargent also provide services within the local hospitals and contribute towards the grants made to families. The charity also welcome volunteers to help maintain the house, by doing repairs and decoration where necessary.

CLIC Sargent Billy's house

On average Billy’s House runs on approximately 90% capacity. Which is great for two reasons; firstly, this means that it’s always being used, but secondly because it means that at a moments notice they still have availability for kids rushed to hospital in an emergency due to infections for example. The parents only need pick up the phone to the charity to ask if they have room, and it’s theirs – it’s easier than booking a hotel. Plus it’s far better than a hotel, it really is a home from home, which must be much nicer for recuperation rather than a characterless hotel room, with the same four walls. By staying at Billy’s House, the kids can play in the garden, use the games room or help making cakes in the kitchen with mum and dad if they are feeling up to it. CLIC Sargent have even known families to have Christmas Day celebrations in the house when one child was too sick to travel all the way home, so they moved Christmas to the child, near enough to leave the hospital for a few hours to open presents and see family.

Whilst staying at any Home from Home, all the families need to worry about is their clothes and getting some food in the cupboards. All the towels and bedlinen are laundered for them, and the house is cleaned to a high standard to avoid spreading of germs. There is also one wheelchair access bedroom on the ground floor that is available to book too.

Claire Herrick, CLIC Sargent Fundraising Manager said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be chosen as Bright Design’s first charity of the year partner. CLIC Sargent rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work, so it’s only with the support of organisations like Bright Design that we can continue to fight for young lives against cancer. We’re really looking forward to working with them on their fundraising plans over the next 12 months, so watch this space!”

Here is more information about this amazing charity (https://www.clicsargent.org.uk/), and Billy’s House (https://www.clicsargent.org.uk/in-my-area/clic-sargent-homes-from-home/billys-house).

Alternatively if you’d like to help us raise more money to contribute to running this house, please donate here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bright-design-donations).