Million pound makeover for Lancashire’s children’s hospice

Top class facilities including a sensory room, messy play zone and cinema have been unveiled as part of a £1.6million makeover at Lancashire’s children’s hospice.

Seriously ill children will be able to make happy memories with their families thanks to the huge building refurbishment, officially launched today at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

The Chorley-based hospice has been looking after children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West for more than 25 years.

Last spring it began a huge project to make the hospice “fit for the future” so it could continue to care for children with increasingly complex conditions for many years to come.

Walls were knocked down and the hospice was remodelled into a lighter, brigher and more flexible space, with the very latest technology added.

The work has transformed the building into a state-of-the-art facility which puts it at the pinnacle of children’s palliative care in the UK and will improve the respite and end-of-life care received by more than 400 children from the region.

  • The new PlayZone, sponsored by AO Smile, includes a large sensory room for both stimulation and relaxation. It also includes a large messy play area to allow children to unleash their creativity and make cherished keepsakes such as hand and footprints.
  • A new £100,000 cinema room will allow families to watch the latest releases together, with a popcorn and candy floss machine providing the finishing touches for an authentic experience.
  • A new accessible kitchen in The Lodge – the area of the hospice reseved for teenagers and young adults – will allow youngsters to bake or fix themselves snacks. This area has been sponsored by Red Sea Pedestrians.
  • A new sunflower suite will allow children to lay at rest before their funeral, to give families extra time to say goodbye.

Cutting-edge technology has been added to rooms to give the youngsters greater independence – including special sensors on doors for wheelchair users, smart speakers in all bedrooms, and a new kitchen with counter tops that rise and fall.

The completion of the new hospice building is the latest in a series of successess for the hospice, which was yesterday (15 January, 2016) officially rated Outstanding by Care Quality Commission (CQC). In October last year the charity also scooped a national award when it was named JustGiving Charity of the Year 2019.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “When we began drafting plans for the new hospice building we knew it would be good, but seeing it completed and watching how much the children and their families are enjoying the new facilities is quite overwhelming. We knew we wanted to lead the way in children’s palliative care and I am thrilled that our new facilities – along with the dediation of our staff and volunteers – allow us to do that. Derian House is now at the very pinnacle of care available to families.

“Thank you to all of our donors who have made this wonderful refurbishent possible. It’s thanks to their kind donations that Derian House will be able to offer children from across the North West the very best care now and way into the future.”

Christine Francioli’s four-year-old son Bruno has a rare genetic condition and is visually impaired. He comes to Derian House for respite and also accesses the Derian at Home service.

Christine said: “Derian House is a home from home for us. It is such a beautiful place and allows Bruno to do the things a little boy should be doing like going for a swim or playing on the park. Without Derian he wouldn’t have these opportunities.

“Bruno is very vulnerable and tends to pick everything up. He can’t even go to school in winter because of all the bugs and so we stay at home a lot. Last week we came to use the new cinema room and couldn’t believe how amazing it was. Bruno lay on a big beanbag and looked up at the lights on the ceiling and fell asleep while me, my partner and our daughter watched a movie. Being able to have that experience as a family without worrying was so good.

“Afterwards Bruno went into the new sensory room and spent time on the warm waterbed. It was perfect and we left feeling so refreshed. It was so nice to have a day out knowing it wouldn’t result in a hospital stay because Bruno had picked up a bug.”

Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Our fantastic new facilities will help us to improve the care we can offer to our families. The bright, colourful environment enhances overall wellbeing and allows our children to be children.”

David Wilkinson, Trustee at AO Smile said: “AO and all our people care greatly. This is reflected in a strong desire to support our local communities, with particular focus on improving the lives of young people. Derian House does an incredible job for children and their families going through unbelievably tough times, and reflects AO’s values. AO Smile Foundation is both proud and delighted to donate the Smile Play Zone, not only on behalf of the company but also recognising the fundraising efforts of all AO’ers.”


AO Smile is a foundation for AO staff to give their time, money and help to local causes.

The new refurbished building includes:

  • £100,000 commercial quality cinema.
  • New state-of-the-art sensory room.
  • PlayZone for arts and crafts and messy play.
  • New children’s bedrooms with cutting-edge technology.
  • Accessible kitchen to allow young adults greater independence.
  • Reflection Zone, including a new Sunflower Suite where children lay at rest to give their families time to say goodbye.

Children’s hospice with cinema, holidays and therapy dog lands Outstanding rating

A CHILDREN’S hospice which boasts its own cinema, holiday lodges and a therapy dog has been given an Outstanding CQC rating.

Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire, was praised by CQC inspectors for “putting children, young people and their families’ needs at the heart of all services.”

The charity, which also offers free massages for tired and stressed-out parents and takes siblings of sick children on fun days out, prides itself on helping children with life-limiting illnesses make the most of every moment.

It looks after 400 seriously ill children and young people from pre-birth to 26-years-old, from across the North West of England.

Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House, said: “We are thrilled to receive our first-ever overall Outstanding rating. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all of our staff and volunteers here at Derian House who go above and beyond every day to deliver the very best care.

“There can be a misconception that a children’s hospice is a sad place, but although we do have sad times here at Derian House, we work really hard to ensure our children and young people don’t miss out on the fun and can make happy memories.

“We’re so pleased that the inspector could see what everyone who comes through our doors comments upon – that Derian House is a special place, doing important work at an incredibly difficult time for families.”

Findings of the unannounced three-day inspection carried out in September and October, 2019, reported leaders at the hospice were “committed and passionate” and that the service “had an imaginative and child-centred vision”.

Families can experience the magic of the big screen at the hospice’s commercial-quality cinema room – even enjoying hotdogs and popcorn for an authentic experience.

A free week’s holiday at one of the charity’s holiday lodges at Ribby Hall Holiday Village near the seaside resort of Blackpool is available to all families.

And Pets as Therapy dog Shuna brings smiles when she visits every week for cuddles.

Other services and areas praised as “outstanding practice” included:

Splash sessions to give families chance to use the heated hydrotherapy pool for weekend fun.

Free bereavement counselling and support groups not only for parents, but for siblings and grandparents too.

Fun trips out for brothers and sisters of children looked after by the hospice.

Massages for tired stressed-out parents and grandparents.

The hospice made history in 2018 becoming the first hospice to tackle the national nursing shortage by launching its own scholarship scheme that sees a new nurse recruited every year.

Judith Connor, CQC Head of Hospital Inspection, said: “It is always great to see a service achieve an Outstanding rating, but it is impressive when one improves as much as this one has. They clearly took on board our previous findings and have worked hard to provide the best possible care and support.

“We found that people and their families were at the centre of everything the service did, support was always provided by passionate, caring and empathetic staff who worked to meet people’s individual needs. There was a holistic approach to the support provided and a deep understanding of people’s emotional needs, so distress could be minimised. Leaders were committed to ensuring a high-quality care culture and acted on their vision for child-centred care. Staff were supported to develop in their roles and valued as a key part of the service.

“We also found the service using innovative practises to support people in the community and responded quickly to people’s changing needs. Feedback from people and their families was consistently positive and confirmed the caring and compassionate care we saw.

“This service has shown that sustainable improvements can be made and made well. Congratulations on achieving an Outstanding rating, well done.”

Derian House has been looking after seriously ill children for 26 years. A £1.6million refurbishment of the hospice building, completed this month, will ensure it can continue supporting families long into the future with new technology putting it at the very forefront of children’s palliative care.

David Robinson, Chief Executive at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We are over the moon to have a CQC rating which we feel accurately reflects the wonderful work we do here at Derian House.

“We’ve worked really hard over the past 18 months to transform how we run the charity in the face of challenging times nationally for fundraising. We’ve added exciting new services for families, upgraded the building to make it fit for the future with a £1.6million refurbishment, and worked with our staff to ensure Derian is a great place to work and have your career.

“I’d like to thank all of our supporters whose generosity overwhelms us every single day and without whom, none of the work we do to help our children and their families would be possible.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

It costs £4.8million to run services at Derian House every year and yet less than 7 per cent of this comes from the government. For 93p in every pound needed, the charity relies on the generosity of its supporters.

Month: January 2020