New 'home away from home' for Evelina London families

Posted on Thursday 8th December 2016
Parents Lucy Helling and Thomas Madden were among the first to move in to Ronald McDonald House Evelina London

Parents Lucy Helling and Thomas Madden were among the first to move in. Photo credit Neil White

Families whose children are being treated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital can now stay just a few minutes’ walk from the hospital thanks to a brand new Ronald McDonald House.

This week the first families were able to enjoy the outstanding new amenities at Ronald McDonald House Evelina London.  Ronald McDonald House Charities provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation and support at specialist children’s hospitals across the country. The new House is a purpose-built, 59 bedroom facility meaning families can stay close to their children for as long as they need.

This is particularly important for families whose children are being cared for at Evelina London because our many specialist services treat children from across London, south east England and beyond.

Without a local Ronald McDonald House, parents may have the expense of hotel accommodation or face a long commute. The independent charity’s Houses can ease the stress of having a child in hospital and are designed to be more than just a place to sleep. The new building has a large day-room, catering facilities, IT access, adaptations to make it fully accessible, a roof garden and every thoughtful accessory to allow families to concentrate on the wellbeing of their child.

It is estimated that the new House will look after around 975 families a year – three times the number accommodated at the old House it replaces which is near Guy’s Hospital at London Bridge.

Dr Grenville Fox, Clinical Director, Children's Medical Specialties & Neonatology Evelina London, says: “As Evelina London has grown, including our specialist services treating young people from south east England and beyond, demand for the accommodation has become huge. This new House will mean more than double the number of families can be near their children when they most need them. It provides a welcoming and nurturing environment just a short walk from our front doors, helping families to best support their children.”

Parents Lucy Helling and Thomas Madden from Kent were among the first families to move in. Their seven-month-old son Noah has been undergoing treatment at Evelina London for a chronic lung condition since July.

Lucy says: “It’s life changing being able to live around the corner when your child is sick in hospital. We don’t ever want to be away from Noah, and now having the chance to live at the new Evelina House means we don’t have to.”

The new £13 million House has been built and will be run by Ronald McDonald House Charities. The project is being run in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, which made a significant contribution to the cost of the build, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, which provided the land and helped to bring the parties together.