Fundraising for set to fall by £2.5m due to the coronavirus pandemic

It is two years since The Children’s Hospital Charity launched its biggest-ever appeal to transform Sheffield Children’s for thousands of patients who visit every year.

The Building a Better Future appeal was launched in 2018 to build a brand new Safeguarding Support Unit, Cancer and Leukaemia ward, Emergency Department and on-site Helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

So far more than £5million has been raised towards the projects, which will be solely funded by charity donations. This has already enabled work to be completed on the state-of-the-art Safeguarding Support Unit which opened to patients in December 2019.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant fall in fundraising, leaving the timeline for the remaining projects in doubt.

The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Director, David Vernon-Edwards explained: “As a Charity, we are looking at a decline in fundraising of around £2.5m by the end of the financial year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’re doing everything we can to raise as much as possible this year, but we felt it was important to share this information with the public, particularly given how vital our fundraising is to Sheffield Children’s.”

Transforming all three areas will benefit children far beyond the city limits. The Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital was built to see 32,000 children every year but now sees more than 58,000 young patients every 12 months from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

The Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s is one of just 20 principle treatment centres in the UK, seeing children as far south as Northampton, while patients arriving by air ambulance from across the region and requiring critical care currently land in a public park opposite the hospital.

The pandemic has seen major events including organised runs and walks supporting the appeal rescheduled, while The Children’s Hospital Charity’s city-wide public arts trail The Bears of Sheffield and overseas Inca Trail challenge have both been postponed until 2021.

More traditional ways of showing support including charity balls, bake sales and raffles are also no longer possible in times of social distancing. Meanwhile, scores of workplaces and schools supporting the efforts to redevelop Sheffield Children’s either remain closed, have reduced in size or are focusing on business continuity during times of economic uncertainty.

David Vernon-Edwards continued: “Put simply, the less we raise together, the longer patients at Sheffield Children’s will have to wait for the upgraded environment they deserve.

“These projects are vital and there is still so much more we need to do to support the hospital and to ensure this pandemic doesn’t have a detrimental long-term impact on the support the charity provides to the staff and young patients.

 “We understand these are difficult times for everyone, but if you are able to support us in any way, whether it is by planning a fundraiser, giving what you can or even just telling a friend just how special Sheffield Children’s Hospital is, we would be very grateful.

“The new Emergency Department, Cancer and Leukaemia ward and Helipad will change lives for generations and we’re determined no child has to wait a moment longer for that improvement than is absolutely necessary.”

To make a donation to support the patients and staff at Sheffield Children’s, click here, call 0114 321 2470 or text SHEFFCHILDRENS to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus your standard message rate