Providing a brighter stay


Water workers have given a splash of colour to hospital accommodation for the families of sick children.

Fourteen employees from Northumbrian Water spent a day painting ten bedrooms at Crawford House, the Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, under the company’s ‘Just an hour’ scheme.

Crawford House, which opened in 1996, provides a ‘home from home’ for families with seriously ill children receiving treatment at the RVI. It can accommodate 23 families a night, 365 days a year, on a first come, first served basis. More than 800 families stay at Crawford House every year.

It took 35 litres of paint and more than 105 hours of hard work by Julie Ampleford from Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sara Arnold from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, Thomas Baker of Esh Winning, Durham, Steven Bell from Lanchester, County Durham, Judith Churchill from Gilley Law, Sunderland, Leanne Clough from Belmont, Durham, Lorraine Coulson from Low Fell, Gateshead, Laura Daniel from Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, Jane Davison from Boldon, Tyne & Wear, Pam Lovell from Hamsterley, County Durham, Debbie McGee from Chester le Street, Jane Morland from Ushaw Moor, Durham, Alan Newton from High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne and Steve Wailes from Cramlington, Northumberland, to give the bedrooms a sparkling makeover.

Northumbrian Water’s ‘Just an hour’ scheme gives employees the opportunity to spend at least 15 hours of paid, work time a year improving local communities in the company’s supply area - from Berwick to North Yorkshire and across to the Pennines.

Gail Stonley, manager of Crawford House, said: “The cost of staffing and maintaining Crawford House amounts to £60,000 a year and this is funded solely by voluntary donations.

“We’re extremely grateful to Northumbrian Water’s volunteers for their support and the finished result looks fantastic.”

Pam Lovell, who works as an education co-ordinator for the corporate responsibility team at Northumbrian Water’s head office at Pity Me, Durham, said: “The day was a great teambuilding exercise, whilst helping a worthwhile cause at the same time. There was a real sense of achievement seeing all of the rooms finished at the end of the day, knowing that we’ve brightened them up for families who’ll stay there.” 

Since the ‘Just an hour’ scheme was launched in 2002, Northumbrian Water employees have spent more than 20,000 hours working on local community projects and improving the environment.

For more information contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

Notes to Editors:

The Sick Children’s Trust runs seven ‘Homes from Home’ at major hospitals around the country, including Crawford House at Newcastle’s RVI Hospital, where families can stay free of charge, for as long as they need whilst children are undergoing treatment.

There is a growing demand for ‘Homes from Home’ as children must increasingly travel long distances for specialist treatment needed.
The Sick Children’s Trust ensures that the very basic of all medicines has a chance to work; family love and support.

They ensure that mum has a private room to cry, dad can get some much needed sleep, and siblings are cocooned in love and not left out. Most importantly, they help families to stay close by to their sick child at all times making a real difference to their recovery. Mum and dad are there for the morning kiss, bedtime story and that all important hug in the middle of the night when things seem really scary.
To date, The Sick Children’s Trust has helped more than 30,000 families. To run the ′Homes from Home′ the trust relies entirely on voluntary donations and needs to raise nearly £1million this year to keep the homes open.
For further information about The Sick Children′s Trust, please go to

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