A two-year fundraising campaign by Wesleyan has come to fruition, with the doors finally opening on a new building at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
The Birmingham-based financial mutual has raised £750,000 towards the cost of Magnolia House, a unique facility in the UK that sets the benchmark for palliative and bereavement care across the country.
Magnolia House has been designed especially to be a safe, home-from-home sanctuary that will improve the experiences of hundreds of parents and their children who will receive life-changing or difficult news in the future.
Every element has been designed hand-in hand with families; from the pastel-coloured interior and the comfortable furniture, to the floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for lots of natural light.
Nicki Fitzmaurice, Palliative Care Lead at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “The families we care for have wanted a space like Magnolia House for such a long time and thanks to hundreds of charitable donations we are delighted to now be able to offer an environment that gives parents a chance to process life-changing news, ensuring they are able to focus on being emotionally available to their child.
“Feedback from families was clear, it needed to be unlike any other area in the hospital, not smell or sound like a busy ward and have lots of natural light, so they didn’t feel like they were enclosed. We’re proud to have created a setting that honours them.”
Located in a central part of the hospital’s site and named because of the trees found in its surrounding garden, Magnolia House boasts two private counselling rooms; a calming lounge area; a kitchen and dining area; a siblings play area and a peaceful, private garden where families can sit and reflect. It also has a private, large family room complete with its own bathroom, kitchen and garden.
Wesleyan, which is a near neighbour of the hospital in the city centre, has organised more than 200 fundraising activities over the past two years, ranging from cake bakes to the publishing of a children’s book, ‘The Unstoppable Maggie McGee’. An additional £250,000 was raised through public donations.
Liz McKenzie, Wesleyan’s Chief Operating Officer and chair of its Charity Advisory Committee, said: “We have supported Birmingham Children’s Hospital for the past four years, and raising money for Magnolia House since 2015. Creating this legacy is something we are very proud of and we hope it will help families when they need it most.
“This has been our largest fundraising challenge ever, spearheaded by our staff’s energy and by sales of our children’s book, ‘The Unstoppable Maggie McGee’.
“Our staff, customers and suppliers have thrown their energy, time and creativity behind this project. The way they have embraced the life changing work the hospital does for children and their families, has been extraordinary. We can’t thank them enough.”
Wesleyan is a specialist financial services provider for doctors, dentists, lawyers and teachers.