Cancer Fund for Children’s Daisy Lodge Short Break Centre from dream to reality….
For over 16 years Cancer Fund for Children’s respite centre, in Newcastle Co. Down, had been providing families nursing a child with cancer with a free therapeutic short break. This was an opportunity for families who had received the utterly devastating news that their child had cancer to spend quality time together in a safe and supportive environment, away from hospitals and gruelling treatment regimes.
Although Cancer Fund for Children’s short break centre was a haven for hundreds of exhausted and vulnerable families, it became clear with time that the building was becoming very run down and was simply unable to cope with the growing demand.
In 2008 Cancer Fund for Children commenced a fundraising drive to knock down and replace their existing short break centre and tasked an architect with a difficult project. They asked him to create a building that was not just beautiful, practical and energy efficient but to create a unique space that would allow children and families living with cancer to feel nurtured and safe.
Construction work on Daisy Lodge commenced on 4th February 2013 and was completed exactly one year later at a cost of £3m. The project was completely self -funded, with all income raised locally and through donations from Major Donors and UK Trust and Foundations. The Rory Foundation committed £1m over four years. £300,000 of which went towards the capital build with the remaining £700,000 committed to the running costs of Daisy Lodge.
Daisy Lodge as it stands today is truly unique. The building was completely purpose-built to the highest specification with equal attention paid to comfort and infection control, spanning over two floors and offering 16,000 square feet of dedicated living space. The building features six double en-suite family rooms allowing the charity to accommodate up to 12 families at any one time, a well-being centre, a range of age-appropriate play areas, four therapy suites, communal lounges, a large open kitchen and dining space and a safe outdoor play area.
What makes a short break at Daisy Lodge so special?
Cancer Fund for Children aims to restore a family life that has been devastated by cancer and it is the charity’s mission to provide EVERY family affected by childhood cancer across the island of Ireland. It is a place where families can spend precious time together during or after cancer treatment whilst benefitting from specialist support of the charity’s therapeutic team.
The facilities are unbelievable. Families arrive here exhausted having been told that their child has cancer and having to spend a lot of time on the hospital ward. A short break at Daisy Lodge gives them a chance to escape that and be together as a family
– Rory McIlroy
Since opening in April 2014 580 families have enjoyed a short break giving them the chance to relax away from the pressures medical appointments, invasive treatments and the isolation of the hospital ward. A short break at Daisy Lodge is unique in that families can find privacy there but they can also benefit from the support of other families in a similar situation.
Most of the families that come to us are exhausted, frightened and worried for the future. We want them to know that during their stay at Daisy Lodge our trained staff will listen to their needs and take care of them so that when they leave us they feel stronger, more resilient and have a coping strategy in place for whatever lives ahead – Gillian Creevy, CEO of Cancer Fund for Children