Happy Birthday bash at Chorley charity shop

Chorley shoppers are invited to join in the birthday celebrations at Derian House Children’s Hospice’s town centre charity shop next weekend.

Customers will get a free slice of birthday cake to celebrate a year of trading and record profits made for the charity which looks after local children and young people with life-limiting illnesses.

The Cleveland Street store is celebrating its first anniversary on Saturday, 22 February from 9am to 4.30pm.

Since the shop relocated from its previous position in Chapel Street, profits have doubled – down to better footfall as well as a full re-brand.

A new light, bright interior and eye-catching window displays has attracted new customers in their droves.

Far from the dusty knick-knacks sometimes associate with charity shops, the store now stocks high quality furniture, children’s toys and games, Derian House merchandise as well as a popular Designers at Derian range featuring brand new designer men and ladies clothing from previous seasons.

The charity has also driven profits by opening up the shop at night during town centre events such as Chorley Live, and even taking a pop-up shop to Astley Park for the Bonfire Night firework show.

Andrew Upton-Ford, Retail Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice said: “We wanted to thank all of our loyal customers for ensuring our first year of trading at our new Chorley shop was the best ever and so throwing a party was the natural choice.

“At Derian House Children’s Hospice we need to raise £4.8million every year to continue to care for 400 children, young people and their families and so making sure our charity shops are the very best they can be is really important to us as a charity.”

The charity also has shops in Horwich and Leyland and a warehouse in Adlington.

People can donate unwanted goods by dropping them off at the shop, or ring 01257 485 823 for a free furniture collection service.

Visit www.derianhouse.co.uk for more details or check out the Facebook Instagram or Twitter pages.

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.

Bolton footballers spread Christmas joy at children’s hospice

Footballers from Bolton Wanderers were greeted with big smiles when they dropped into Derian House Children’s Hospice on a festive toy run this afternoon (Tuesday, 17 December, 2019).

Club captain Jason Lowe, who is an ambassador for the Chorley-based charity, brought along his team-mates to give out gifts and visit the seriously ill children.

After spending time with the children and chatting to staff, the players even made a surprise visit to the retirement party of Clinical Educator Trish Clarkson who was leaving the hospice after 20 years’ service.

The players – whose personal donations had paid for the gifts – also took a tour of the refurbished hospice, played games with the children and posed for pictures with staff.  

Jason Lowe, who got involved with the charity after being humbled by its work during the visit last Christmas, said: “I feel so proud to come back to Derian this year as ambassador and to see the refurbished hospice which looks wonderful.

“For the players, this is such a privilege, and an experience that we all enjoy. It’s our pleasure to come along and put a smile on the kids’ faces and give something back to our community.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions throughout the North West.

Miriam Payne, Events and Promotions Manager at Derian House, said: “We’re really grateful to the Bolton players for bringing some festive cheer into Derian. The children were absolutely thrilled with their gifts and it means a lot to us to have their support, especially from our ambassador Jason Lowe who always goes above and beyond to get behind the work we do.”

Poignant candle-lit service to remember loved ones

Twinkling Christmas tree lights – each one symbolising the life of a loved one lost – were lit at the annual Lights of Love service held at Blackburn Cathedral on Friday evening.

Hundreds of people attended the event, organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Abigail Orme, 12, who comes to the Chorley-based hospice, did the honours of turning on the lights as part of the moving service.

Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP performed a reading of Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And he was joined by TV actor and Derian House supporter Ben Batt and Radio Lancashire presenter John Gillmore, who also took part in the festive service.

Music was provided by the Rawstorne Singers, a choir established for more than 30 years with members from across Lancashire.

The charity’s very own choir made up of staff and volunteers, the Derian Voices, also performed ‘Remember Me’ from Disney Pixar film Coco and ‘Make your Own Kind of Music’.

And the crowd joined in with a poignant candle-lit rendition of Silent Night.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Lights of Love is always a very moving evening where we celebrate the lives of family and friends no longer with us.

“It’s also a wonderful chance for us to look back at what we have achieved over the year, and a time to celebrate all the wonderful memories we’ve been able to give to our families thanks to the kind donations of our supporters.”

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DHChristmas19 to help a child at Derian House Children’s Hospice this Christmas.

Santa bikers bring festive joy to children’s hospice

More than 150 kind-hearted bikers made a special delivery of toys and gifts to seriously ill children this weekend.

The generous Rivington Barn Bikers travelled in convoy to deliver a sleigh-load of presents from their base in Rivington to Derian House Children’s Hospice on Sunday.

Dressed in festive dress, and with many of the bikes decorated for Christmas, the bikers flooded down the driveway of the hospice to the delight of the children staying there, who watched with delight from the front steps.

The bikers then formed a chain gang and passed presents down the length of the car park and into the hospice building.

The extraordinary gesture was in memory of biker Craig Hayward’s son James who was cared for at Derian House before he died on Boxing Day in 2005, aged seven.

Craig Hayward said: “We started this three years ago with 30 bikers and it’s just got bigger and better every year since. It’s overwhelming to see how everyone pulls together and I want to thank each and every person who came out today. This means more to me than just about anything.

“Derian House will always have a place in my heart. My lad came here and a few of my lad’s friends came here too. It’s a fantastic place that helps relieve the stress for parents and I hope by doing this I can do that too. I just wanted to give something back and put a smile on the kids’ faces.”

Caroline Taylor, Communications and Marketing Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by this generous gesture from the Rivington Barn Bikers. The children staying at the hospice were so excited to see them – it was joyous to watch their faces as the bikes pulled into the driveway.

“We will make good use of the gifts donated, making sure that each of the 450 children and young people we care for, and many of their siblings too, get a special present this year. On behalf of everyone at Derian House we’d like to say a huge thank you to Craig and his fellow bikers.”

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DHChristmas19 to help a child at Derian House Children’s Hospice this Christmas.

Saying a big THANKS on International Volunteer Day

Generous volunteers who saved a local children’s charity more than £80,000 in wages this year are being celebrated on International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2019).

Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley has 100 regular volunteers who donated almost 10,000 of their time to help run services for children and young people with life-limiting conditions this year.

The kind-hearted helpers do everything from cooking meals for families, counting money in collection buckets, working at the charity shops, driving the delivery van, answering phones, helping at playgroup, and manning events.

Together they help the charity care for more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting illnesses across the North West, making precious memories with their families.

Former teacher Julie Nolan, who volunteers at Derian House with husband Tony twice a week, recently raised £830 for the hospice after asking friends and family to donate cash instead of buying gifts for her 60th birthday.

Julie, who helps in the kitchen, in the fundraising team, at events and on trips, said: “People sometimes ask me why I volunteer at a children’s hospice and comment that it must be a sad place. But it’s not. It’s a wonderful, happy place where you hear children laughing. It’s ace!”

Katie McNally, Wellbeing Services Lead at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Julie helps us take children on trips out during the school holiday and they love her being part of the day because her kindness and generosity shines through. We would be lost without her.”

The charity also has a loyal band of corporate supporters who often visit for team building days spent tidying the gardens and doing seasonal jobs such as wrapping Christmas gifts.

Frances Lees, Volunteer Services Co-ordinator at Derian House, said: “Every single one of our wonderful volunteers deserves a special thank you today. Their commitment to the hospice always amazes me. They bring skills, laughter and so much love we would be lost without their support on a daily basis.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer at Derian House Children’s Hospice, visit www.derianhouse.co.uk/volunteer-for-us or call Frances Lees on 01257 233 300.

Hat’s the way to do it! Margaret’s stitch in time raises thousands for sick children

When it comes to raising money for her local children’s charity, Chorley grandma Margaret Barton is a woolly wonder!

The 87-year-old knitting sensation has raised more than £8,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice since 2011 with her children’s jumpers and hats.

On any given day of the year, Margaret can be found at her home in Berkley Close, Chorley, surrounded by balls of yarn, needles clacking.

Taught to knit by her mother as a child, talented Margaret can now rustle-up a jumper and bobble hat set for a baby in just two days.

So far this year, Margaret has knitted 87 jumper and hat sets, which sell for £12.50 each, to raise money for children with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West.

The sets are snapped-up at Derian House fundraising events, with Margaret’s goodies raising more than £1,000 at the recent Winter Sparkle event held at Astley Park earlier in November.

It’s a labour of love for Margaret, who says knitting keeps her mind occupied.

“Knitting makes me happy,” said Margaret, who also crochets and sews.

“It gives me something to think about – I’m always thinking about what colours I’m going to be doing next.

“I feel that God has given me this talent and that I should use it for something good, for the benefit of others.

“I buy all of my wool from Poundland in Chorley where they do 15 balls for £10 when I can get out, otherwise I send for it off the computer.”

Margaret, who has been married to husband Wulstan for 60 years, was a former mill worker and knitted baby clothes for her two sons, Paul (57) and Michael (60), her five grandchildren, friends and neighbours too.

She has even turning her hand to doggie jackets after her daughter-in-law requested one for her pet pooch.

On a rare night off Margaret enjoys flower arranging and completing jigsaws.

Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Margaret is one of our most dedicated supporters and we truly value her amazing efforts. For the past eight years she has devoted all of her free time to knitting, which has in turn raised thousands of pounds for the charity. On top of that, she is just an absolutely lovely, genuine lady.

“It’s amazing to think that Margaret’s knitting has allowed us to help the lives of families going through unimaginably difficult times, just that little bit easier. On behalf of all of our children and young people, we just want to say a big thank you.”

Record-breaking numbers support charity winter wonderland

Thousands of people got into the Christmas spirit this weekend when Derian House Children’s Hospice Winter Sparkle event came to town.

The sun shone down on Astley Park in Chorley as more than 15,000 people flooded through the gates to buy Christmas goodies and enjoy some good old-fashioned festive fun.

Shoppers stocked up on charity Christmas cards, festive gifts, and food and drink from local producers.

Children enjoyed visits to Santa and his real reindeer, fairground attractions and even unicorn rides.

And – new for this year – the event featured a full day of entertainment including music from Chorley Silver Band and Skylarks Choir, Punch and Judy, magic, and a specially-written production of Cinderella performed by Sparkle Productions.

Historical performers The Extraordinary Victorians were also on hand to provide entertainment with a difference with their singing and living history re-enactments.

Event organiser Miriam Payne, said: “We are absolutely over the moon at how well the event went, with the local community really coming out in force to show their support for Derian House.

“The feedback we’ve had so far has been brilliant, with people saying they loved the family-friendly entertainment and how much they enjoyed the improvements we made this year to add even more stalls and spread the event out throughout the park.

“We’re still busy counting the money collected on the day, but we already know we’ve raised significantly more than last year, which is just fantastic.

“Thank you so much to everybody who came to Winter Sparkle, and also to all of the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to pull off this huge event, and without whom Winter Sparkle simply wouldn’t have been possible.”

Derian House Children’s Hospice cares for more than 400 children with life-limiting conditions and their families from across Lancashire and Greater Manchester. It costs more than £4.3 million every year to provide the vital services, and yet less than 10 per cent of this comes from the government. For the remainder, the charity must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

Derian House wins national Charity of the Year award

A hospice which helps children with life-limiting conditions to make the most of every moment, has won a national award.

Derian House Children’s Hospice was named Charity of the Year 2019 at the prestigious JustGiving Awards, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London last night (Tuesday, 22 October).

The Chorley-based charity looks after more than 400 children, young people and their families from across the North West, offering respite and end-of-life care.

The hospice beat off competition from more than 50,000 other charities to scoop the top award.

David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House, said: “We are really overwhelmed to have been named Charity of the Year in the JustGiving Awards 2019 – we didn’t expect to win and this national accolade will really help us to reach out to more families and help put Derian House on the map.

“We get very little money from the government and JustGiving is a fundamental part of helping us to raise the cash we need to keep the hospice running.

“The ceremony was inspirational and humbling in equal measures. To hear the wonderful stories of people from across the UK was a real privilege. I’d like to thank our fellow nominees, Breast Cancer Haven and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – both really worthy charities.

“Big thanks to everyone who voted for us. We are thrilled.”

It costs more than £4.3 million to run services at Derian House Children’s Hospice every year. The charity receives less than 10 per cent of this through statutory funding. For the remainder, it must rely on the generosity of its supporters.

A JustGiving Awards spokesperson said: “We can’t believe that the JustGiving Awards are over for another year! It was an incredible evening which celebrated the dedication, generosity and unimaginable feats of fundraisers and charities from across the JustGiving community. This year we received the record number of 50,000 public nominations, and after weeks of deliberation we managed to whittle this down to 24 finalists. We were honoured to have the opportunity to share each of the finalists’ stories, and we finished the evening feeling inspired, and just a little bit emotional.

“We want to thank everyone who took the time out of their day to nominate and vote for this year’s winners.”