New GOSH accommodation allows parents of seriously ill children to stay just ninety seconds from the hospital

1 Aug 2022, 8 a.m.

Royal Bank of Canada House and McColl’s House have been funded by Royal Bank of Canada and McColl’s through Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity).

Two new family accommodation complexes next to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have recently opened their doors, providing parents and carers with a place to stay, free of charge, just moments from their child’s bedside.

The renovation project has seen two 18th century townhouses on Powis Place transformed into modern, comfortable facilities for 40 people, just seconds away from the hospital.

GOSH Charity partners, Royal Bank of Canada and McColl’s have each raised £1 million for GOSH Charity to fund the accommodation, designed to cater to the needs of families whose children require urgent and specialist care, with priority going to parents or carers with children in intensive care units, as they can’t stay on the ward with their child.

Royal Bank of Canada House and McColl’s House will feature bedrooms of various sizes, kitchen facilities, a quiet room, sitting rooms, and laundry and dining areas, giving families a place to relax and rest away from the busy hospital setting.

The building and renovation of family accommodation close to the hospital is one of GOSH Charity’s key funding areas, and through the generous support of partners and donors who give to the charity, the hospital can continue to improve services offered to families during what is often a challenging and daunting time. As the hospital treats seriously ill children from across the UK, family accommodation is also crucial for those families travelling from further afield with a child in need of life-changing care.

GOSH Charity’s director of fundraising Liz Tait said: “Being the parent or guardian of a child who is seriously ill can be extremely stressful and the last thing families should need to worry about is where they can stay while their child is receiving life-changing care at GOSH.

“Thanks to our valued partners, Royal Bank of Canada and McColl’s, we can provide hundreds more parents and carers with somewhere they can sleep, eat and look after their own wellbeing, in the knowledge that their child is in safe hands just moments away. This new accommodation will be a real lifeline during the most worrying of times for many families and we are thrilled to welcome our first guests.”

Dr Joe Brierley, Consultant in paediatric and neo-natal intensive care at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “My team and I look after some of the most seriously ill children in the hospital and, like the rest of our colleagues, deliver family-centred care which is crucial for families with children being treated in intensive care. Children at GOSH don’t just come from London and the South-East, they travel from the whole of the UK, as well as further afield. This means their parents and carers need a space to sleep and recharge, but most of all to be near their child so they can be at their bedside whenever needed – in intensive care, this can sometimes be very quickly, day or night. Family accommodation at GOSH is so crucial to help us deliver the very best care for seriously ill children and their families, so having Royal Bank of Canada House and McColl’s House a stone’s throw away from ICU will make an immeasurable difference.”

Ella’s story

Age 12, Truro, Cornwall

Ella, now aged 12, was born with a rare type of spina bifida after having an open hole at the base of her spine at birth. She went straight into intensive care and was then transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital when she was only a couple of days old. Ella underwent various surgeries and procedures, including peristeen and ACE procedures, having a Mic key button fitted and a colostomy to help manage her bladder and bowel symptoms caused by the spina bifida.

Moments after Ella, now aged 12, was born, her mum Helen, saw that she had an open hole at the base of her spine. Helen says: “My pregnancy with Ella was fine. I took a high dose of folic acid as there’s a history of spina bifida in the family. Ella’s type of spina bifida is the most severe form of the condition. Her hole is located at the sacral region of her spine, so all the nerve damage is around the nerves responsible for her bowel and bladder. Doctors told us that Ella may never be able to walk or ride a bike.”

Whilst being treated at GOSH, Ella and her family stayed at GOSH Charity-funded accommodation numerous times, which made their long journey from Cornwall to London easier during visits to GOSH. Helen says: “We’ve made use of family accommodation for 12 years, ever since Ella was born, and have used it countless times. We were living in Hertfordshire until Ella was four months old and then moved back to Cornwall where Ella’s Dad and I are from. We knew we’d have to go back to GOSH regularly, but all our support network is in Cornwall so that was the pull bringing us back.

“It would have been so difficult if we hadn’t been able to stay in GOSH Charity funded accommodation; the cost of staying in London is huge. It’s also so useful having the accommodation close by the hospital. Unfortunately Ella has suffered from a lot of complications and there have been a few times where she has been discharged and I've felt worried that she might become unwell, so having the hospital so close the night after has been such a reassurance. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”

Ella is still dealing with symptoms but, despite this, is doing really well and enjoys going to school; she’s also an aspiring YouTuber. “Ella is now in year 8 and goes into school four mornings a week as she really struggles with fatigue. Given that she has missed such an incredible amount of school, amazingly, Ella manages to meet educational targets in line with her peers - we are so very proud of her determination."

Contact Information

For media enquiries, please contact:

GOSH Charity

Ellen Leach-Hutchings, GOSH Charity press office ellen.leach-hutchings@gosh.org / 0203 841 3147

Grace Waters, GOSH Charity press office grace.waters@gosh.org / 0203 841 3237

RBC

Emma Hicks, RBC Communications – Emma.Hicks@rbccm.com / 0792 5127 209

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors

About Great Ormond Street Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity:

Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions. Our patients and families are central to everything we do – from the moment they come through the door and for as long as they need us.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give seriously ill children, the best chance for life. The charity funds research into pioneering new treatments for children, provides the most up to date medical equipment, funds support services for children and their families and supports the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital. You can help us to provide world class care for our patients and families. For more information visit www.gosh.org

About Royal Bank of Canada: 

Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 88,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 27 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.‎

RBC has a long history in Europe and has operated in the region since 1910 to serve corporate, institutional and high-net worth clients. Today, we provide a wide array of financial products and services, which are delivered by over 5,300 employees from offices in the UK, the Channel Islands, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. RBC delivers financial products and services in Europe under the global brands RBC Capital Markets, RBC Wealth Management, RBC Investor & Treasury Services, RBC Global Asset Management and BlueBay Asset Management. For more information, please visit www.rbc.com/Europe

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities including our series of RBC Race for the Kids family fun runs. Join the London Race on Saturday, 8 October 2022 in Hyde Park.

About McColl’s

McColl's is a leading neighbourhood retailer, with an estate of over 1,100 managed convenience stores and newsagents. We operate McColl's and Morrisons Daily branded convenience stores as well as newsagents branded Martin's across the UK.