The technologies that we develop will benefit children today and in the future

Our CEO John Armstrong reflects on the completion of the Helipad Appeal and looks forward to our latest appeal to raise £2m towards the build of a new research and technology centre at The Olympic Legacy Park.

One of the biggest and most exciting moments for The Children’s Hospital Charity this year has been the completion of our Helipad Appeal; £6million raised to start the build of a helipad on the roof of Sheffield Children’s.

If you walk or drive down Western Bank, you can literally see the helipad being built. For me, it makes me so proud because I know that it’s all down to the incredible fundraising efforts of our amazing supporters.

But now that appeal has been completed, what’s next?

The National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT) is an exciting new development that will be run by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and as the Charity that is dedicated to supporting them, we’ve pledged to be a key partner and funder of this project, committing to raise £2million towards the build.

NCCHT is set to be a game-changer for paediatric care in the UK. It will be a place to develop world-leading research and build new technologies to solve the biggest challenges in children’s healthcare, focusing on preventing and managing health conditions such as obesity, mental health problems, disabilities and cancer.

It will bring together children, clinicians, inventors and engineers under the same roof, with state-of-the-art facilities for manufacturing, digital development and the opportunity to deliver Sheffield Children’s clinical care.

Child health technologies will be a big focus at NCCHT. Some examples are robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence; these are changing our lives, and at NCCHT, they will be used to change how we care for children.

The building will have a virtual reality suite, creative space to develop ways to care for people remotely and the opportunity to test new prototypes.

Some children at Sheffield Children’s are already benefitting from innovative technology. A little girl called Eden has been visiting us to receive treatment for Polyarticular Juvenile Arthritis since she was 18 months old. The symptoms are similar to those of adult rheumatoid arthritis and include joint pain, stiffness and swollen joints.

Eden comes to Sheffield Children’s for medication that helps to reduce the inflammation, pain and stiffness that she experiences; it’s really important and helps her to do more of the things she loves.

Previously, her appointments involved a few doctors and nurses working to cannulate her so she could receive her treatment, but now, they use a VR headset as a distraction, transporting Eden to space or underwater to see lots of tropical fish; with Eden’s attention elsewhere, they’re able to get the cannula in within seconds.

VR headsets, like the one that Eden uses, are just one example of the exciting tech that will help to improve how we care for children at Sheffield Children’s.

It really will be more than a building and will bring together a community of innovators across the world, working and collaborating virtually, as well as being physically based at NCCHT.

The technologies that we develop will benefit children today and in the future, across the world.

The vision at Sheffield Children’s is for local children and their families to benefit from the latest improvements in healthcare. As part of the Olympic Legacy Park, NCCHT will drive employment and develop the skills of our local communities here in Sheffield.

And we aren’t the only ones funding this exciting new project. The NCCHT is also receiving funding from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, making up the £22million needed.

Through this new appeal, we are calling on our incredible supporters once again to come together and support this vital project, helping to ensure that children and families have access to the best possible care and that clinicians have the tools they need to improve outcomes for their young patients.

Whether through a donation, a fundraising event, or simply by spreading the word, we hope that everyone will join us in this important endeavour.

Your support will make a big difference in the lives of children and families, providing hope for a healthier future.

Find out more about NCCHT here.