Pictured front row are David Pratt and Sharon Miller the CEO of the CHSF, with, from left Lisa Williams, community fundraising manager, Andrew Cole, Carl Woodier holding Bella Rhodes, John Golden and Andrew Simpson
Parents of children undergoing heart surgery in a Leeds hospital will be able to sleep on site in comfort, thanks to a significant donation from the region’s Freemasons.
The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has been given £29,148 to refurbish and furnish seven family accommodation rooms within Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.
Around 17,000 babies, children and adults with congenital heart disease are treated as outpatients by the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU) every year.
Many are admitted to the hospital for surgery and family accommodation is available that keeps parents and siblings near to patients during what is a traumatic time for all.
The grant, from the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, will see all the rooms brought to a warm and welcoming standard, with the refurbishment extending to a full redecoration, new carpets, lighting and blinds along with new beds, seating and wash sinks.
The rooms provide a secure space for parents, and meet not only their physical needs, but take into consideration their emotional well-being and mental health needs.
The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was one of five ‘major grants’ totalling £111,000 given to good causes across its geographical region, which stretches from Sheffield in the South to Ripon in the North, and Goole in the East to Waddington in the West.
Whilst major grants from this fund, ranging from £5,000 upwards are awarded annually, its minor grants, which have a ceiling of £5,000, are awarded quarterly.
She spent much of Christmas in the unit, located in Leeds General Infirmary, after undergoing open heart surgery, and faces more operations in the future.
Carl said: “Having first-hand experience of Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, and the way the fantastic team there has looked after Bella and her parents, I wanted to do something in return.
“After learning they were raising funds to upgrade the on-site family accommodation, I asked if Chevin Lodge would apply for a major grant from the Provincial Grand Master’s fund.
“To say I’m delighted is an understatement. Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry, and this grant will enable countless families of children needing heart surgery stay on site, and in comfort.”
Sharon Milner, Chief Executive of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund said that the charitable generosity of Freemasons was very much appreciated, and that the grant had made an immediate impact and the results can already be seen in the upgraded accommodation.
David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master and Head of Freemasonry of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, said: “The Freemasons of Yorkshire West Riding are delighted to have the opportunity to support the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and the fantastic work they do to enhance the quality of care and support provided to children undergoing surgery and their families.
“We hope the funds will enable the refurbishment of the parents’ accommodation at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit to be completed and make the families who need to stay there as comfortable as possible.”