Work is progressing on a £7 million facility which will offer free accommodation to families whose children are being treated in hospital.
The Ronald McDonald House Southampton is due to open in spring 2014 and will offer home-from-home accommodation for families of children being treated at Southampton General Hospital and the adjacent Princess Anne Hospital.
The purpose-built house will have 53 bedrooms to help families of some of the 18,700 children who are admitted to both hospitals each year.
It will be the 14th home run by Ronald McDonald House Charities which provides such accommodation to more than 6,000 families each year near to hospitals nationwide.
VIPs who toured the construction site on June 28 included Dr Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test; John Trewby, chairman of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and Jon Haward, director of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Dr Whitehead said: “I am very pleased that we will have this valuable service here in Southampton, which will provide much-needed support to families from across my constituency and further afield who come to Southampton to access its leading paediatric services.”
Mr Haward added: “Each year thousands of children are admitted for treatment at Southampton General Hospital and Princess Anne Hospital, and many of these will have to travel far from home so that their child can have the expert care that they need.
“We believe that this house will make a huge difference to some of these families – giving them a place to rest for as long as they need, free of charge and just minutes away from their children in hospital.”
Once built, the house will cost £500,000 a year in running costs. Ronald McDonald House Charities is calling on businesses and the community across the south of England to help raise funds to support the house.
For more details visit http://www.rmhc.org.uk/southampton.