Macauley Cook was joined by a child being treated at Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for a special ground breaking ceremony today to mark the official start of construction for Ronald McDonald House Cardiff - the independent charity's first ever 'home away from home' accommodation in Wales.
The Cardiff Blues ace and 11-year-old Keynan Berry, who is being treated at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, put on their hard hats and took up their spades to tackle the freshly prepared ground at the site opposite the hospital where the new 30 bedroom House is being built by construction company Willmott Dixon.
Ronald McDonald House Cardiff is costing over £5.5 million to build and is expected to be ready in late 2017. Once completed, it will provide families with a free place to stay just across the road from where their child is being cared for – either at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales or for babies in the neo-natal unit at University Hospital of Wales.
The House is one of 14 across the UK run by Ronald McDonald House Charities and will be equipped with en-suite bedrooms, large enough to sleep four, as well as kitchens, lounges, playroom areas and laundry facilities to help support and keep families together. They will be able to stay as long as needed in a stress free environment where experiences can be shared and friendships made.
Leading representatives joined Ronald McDonald House Charities’ personnel to celebrate the relationship. Maria Battle, Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and Alison Oliver, Clinical Service Lead for the Noah’s ark Children’s hospital for Wales, and were also in attendance to show their support for the new facility. The University Health Board oversees Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, part of University Hospital of Wales, which is a centre of excellence for paediatric services in Wales.
The groundbreaking ceremony was then followed by a number of speeches where special guest Maria Battle spoke about family centred care and why having a Ronald McDonald House at the hospital is so important.
Cardiff Blues representative and charity ambassador, Macauley Cook, was also at the occasion to announce the rugby club’s official partnership with the Charity:
“I am delighted to be supporting the fantastic work Ronald McDonald House Charities does for families with sick children in hospital in their time of need.
"I know only too well what it is like to visit a patient in hospital, having spent much of my time with my team mate, Owen Williams, over many months of recovery, and can only imagine what it must be like for parents.
“It is with great pleasure that I announce Cardiff Blues’ official partnership with the Charity at this memorable ground breaking ceremony and we look forward to getting our fans behind the Charity’s first House in Wales.”
For more information on the Charity’s first House in Wales, please visit: www.rmhc.org.uk/news-and-blog/ronald-mcdonald-house-cardiff