A locally based charity appeal is celebrating reaching a milestone towards its goal of raising £750,000 to the cost of creating a children’s cancer unit at Mayday Hospital.
Despite having to halt all traditional charity fund-raising activities in March because of the covid-19 pandemic, the Lily Pad Appeal at the Chartwell Cancer Trust has told supporters that work has begun on the multi-million-pound redevelopment of a site within Croydon’s largest hospital, with an expected completion date of spring 2021.
The project includes the addition of a brand new critical care unit as well as the children’s cancer unit, allowing the Croydon NHS Trust to provide care closer to home for even more of the borough’s sickest children.
The unit will also have a medical ward, surgical ward and a short stay unit, for children and young people who need to be admitted to hospital.
Michael Douglas, the head of The Chartwell Cancer Trust, said: “The paediatric oncology unit will make a life-changing difference for the most vulnerable children of Croydon. We are pulling out all the stops to provide them with the full range of facilities they deserve.
“We have been impacted significantly by the covid-19 crisis. All our fundraising activity for the Lily Pad Appeal has been suspended for the foreseeable future and we are working hard to develop alternative means of raising the funds we need to meet our target.
“Despite incredibly tough times for all teams and patients at Croydon University Hospital, the project is still on track and some important milestones have been met. Work has started clearing and preparing the site – the asbestos has now been removed from the premises. The architects have also produced much-improved plans and designs.
“We are also pleased to say that the next instalment of funds has been transferred over to the hospital. This is a great step which simply would not have been possible without the support and fundraising of the public.
“The unfolding covid-19 crisis not only highlights the critical importance of the NHS in our society but also underlines the need for safe, state-of-the-art facilities for the most vulnerable, high-risk children in our communities.”
The charity’s funding is going towards the children’s cancer unit as part of an effort to transform care for children, young people and their families who are dealing with cancer. It is the latest large-scale improvement at Mayday, following the opening of the £21million A&E department in 2018 and the promise last year of refurbishment to the critical care department, budgeted to cost £12,7million.
Mayday’s paediatric teams look after around 52,000 children and young people each year, both in the hospital and in our community.
Edward Holloway, the consultant paediatrician at the NHS Trust and clinical lead for the project, said: “Croydon is home to one of the capital’s youngest populations and we’re committed to ensuring that we adapt to the needs of those that we care for at every age.
“This project has been an ambition of ours for a number of years and we’re delighted to finally be moving forward with our new children’s unit.
“This much-needed funding boost will undoubtedly improve the care we provide to all of our young people, now and into the future.
“Our new children’s oncology unit, which is being supported by Chartwell Cancer Trust’s Lilypad Appeal, will allow us to look after children living with cancer in a modern, welcoming environment close to home, reducing any additional stress during an incredibly difficult time in their lives.”
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