£10,000 playhouse for hospice

YOUNGSTERS suffering from life-limiting illnesses have today been given a heart-warming gift to inject a little fun into their lives.Every child loves playing house, letting their imaginations run riot as they play grown ups.

YOUNGSTERS suffering from life-limiting illnesses have today been given a heart-warming gift to inject a little fun into their lives.

Every child loves playing house, letting their imaginations run riot as they play grown ups.

Now the youngsters at the children's hospice in Ipswich will be able to play new games - thanks to the donation of a £10,000 playhouse by Otley College and Ipswich Building Society.

The playhouse - built by construction students at the college - was delivered to the hospice by special crane and has caused great excitement among staff and the children.

The building was unveiled at this year's Suffolk Show and three charities were in the frame to receive it - with visitors to the showground then asked to vote for the charity they wanted to win.

East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) triumphed by roughly three votes to one.

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Sheila Gauld, hospice manager for Ipswich and Suffolk, thanked Ipswich Building Society and Otley College for their generosity.

She said: “Our children's hospice in Ipswich is very tight for space and the playhouse will give children extra room to play.

“We are delighted to receive the playhouse during Children's Hospice Week, when we ask local people to do whatever they can to support our work with life-limited children.

“We usually ask people to give us just an hour of their time, but Ipswich Building Society and Otley College have given us a great deal more!”

Jo Leah, head of marketing at Ipswich Building Society, said the society was always looking at new ways of working with the community.

She said: “We have established a superb relationship with Otley College over several years and when we both came up with the idea, we couldn't wait to get this venture off the ground.

“We are absolutely delighted that EACH has won the playhouse. A lot of hard work went into this build but the look on the children's faces when they see their new play area will be priceless and make all the effort that has gone into this truly worthwhile.”

The Otley students built the house as part of their studies.

Head of construction Paul Williamson said: “Many of Otley's construction courses offer hands on experiences that mirror the realities of the workplace and this assignment was no different.

“All in all, this scheme was a superb learning opportunity for our students.

“They had to deal with a variety of situations including buying, building and budgets so educationally the experience was brilliant. The fact that a local charity has benefited so spectacularly from this makes the project all the more satisfying.”

WEBLINKS: www.each.org.uk

www.otleycollege.ac.uk

www.ipswich-bs.co.uk

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

second story:

PEOPLE are being challenged to give up just one hour of their time as part of Children's Hospice Week to support terminally ill children.

East Anglia's Children's Hospices has put together a host of fundraising ideas people can do in their lunch hour at work, school or at home - from abseils to car washing, cake making to selling Christmas cards, sweepstakes to dress-down days.

EACH fundraising manager Melanie Chew said: “We have put together some fun ideas for people to get involved with, but there is a more serious side too.

“Few people know that we only receive ten per cent of our funding from the government, and the rest needs to be fundraised with the support of local people, schools, and clubs.

“An hour in the life of a sick child is so precious, so we hope you will give up an hour of yours to help us however you can.

“Our aim is to provide time for living life to the full, offering fun, friendship and learning so that sick children can make the most of their precious lives.

“We take some of the pressure off parents and other family members such as grandparents and the child's brothers and sisters, providing comfort at the most difficult times.”

The charity's services include respite care and end-of-life care. Specialist nurses and carers look after the children and activities include therapeutic play, music therapy, arts and crafts work, day trips and a memory day each year for bereaved families.

No charge is made to those using its services. This year it will cost around £4m to run the charity's three hospices.

For further information on how to get involved contact: 01953 715559

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