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Building work begins on Magnolia House

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Building work has begun on Magnolia House, the new £1 million purpose-built support centre at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

It is the first facility of its kind in the UK and is being funded entirely by charitable donations. Wesleyan, the hospital's near neighbour and its largest corporate donor, has been leading the fundraising activity, and has committed to raise £750,000 of the £1million total.

The specialist financial mutual is well on its way to reach its target by the end of this year with many fantastic fundraising activities planned including sales of its children's book, 'The Unstoppable Maggie McGee', which was written and published especially for Birmingham Children's Hospital with every penny of the cover price going to the charity.

The final £250,000 has already been achieved through public donations, including the charity's annual summer fundraiser Big Bandage.

Named because of the magnolia trees found in the hospital's garden, Magnolia House will set the benchmark for palliative care across the UK, providing care for children and families living with terminal illnesses or those who have complex diagnoses and need help to understand and control their child's symptoms.

The thoughtfully designed Magnolia House will boast private counselling rooms, a calming lounge area, a siblings play area and a peaceful garden where families can sit and reflect. The roof of the building will be covered with grass and embedded with twinkle lights to provide in-patients overlooking Magnolia House a scenic and magical view from the windows of the hospital.

Approximately 100 life-changing conversations take place with families and patients at Birmingham Children's Hospital every year. At present these discussions often happen in offices, empty cubicles or even playrooms, with parents often moved back out onto the ward before they have properly had the time to digest what they are being told.

Magnolia House will instead offer a safe-haven where families can spend as long as they need together, before they feel ready to face the world again.

Nicki Fitzmaurice, Palliative Care Lead at Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "The hospital, and the families who come to us, have wanted a space like Magnolia House for such a long time and we are proud, today, to be able to start building this exciting new facility as it will improve the lives of hundreds of families that are delivered devastating news at our hospital every year."

Liz McKenzie, Wesleyan's Chief Operating Officer and chair of its Charity Advisory Committee, said: "From the moment we heard about the concept behind Magnolia House we knew it was a project we wanted to support because it will mean so much to families at the hospital. Our staff, customers, suppliers, business contacts and the wider community have been incredibly generous in supporting our fundraising activity, and now the building work has begun it gives us another incentive to reach our target."

Speaking of how Magnolia House would have benefitted her family when she received her son Noah's terminal Leukaemia diagnosis, Naomi Messer, 34, from Dudley, said: "When we were first told the news about Noah's prognosis, we were unsure where to go within the hospital or who to turn to.

"It would have made such a huge difference to our family to be able to go to a place away from the ward, to an environment that was completely separate from the hospital itself - somewhere that was more like a home-from-home."

Elinor Eustace, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity, added: "Magnolia House is a much-needed peaceful haven that will give our families time and space to come to terms with difficult news. We are delighted to have had the support of Wesleyan, our largest corporate supporter, to allow us to reach this important milestone and look forward to working with them once more to reach their final £750,000 target."

This first spade in the ground for Magnolia House comes hot on the heels of the children's hospital also receiving the green light from planners to start work on a new £35million clinical block on Whittall Street.

'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

Click for more information about the Wesleyan group of companies.

© 2018 Wesleyan Assurance Society