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Children in Highland hospital to benefit as Archie Foundation's fundraising tops £1.6m

By Val Sweeney

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The Highland Children's Unit at Raigmore Hospital is supported by the Archie Foundation.
The Highland Children's Unit at Raigmore Hospital is supported by the Archie Foundation.

Young patients admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness are among those who have benefited as a children's charity saw its income rise by 12 per cent last year.

The Archie Foundation raised more than £1.6million in 2023, a year which saw more than 50,000 children and young people visit one of the three hospitals it supports – the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Tayside Children’s Hospital in Dundee and the Highland Children’s Unit at Raigmore Hospital.

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Paula Cormack, the foundation's chief executive, said: "At a time when many of us have been heavily impacted by the cost-of-living crisis it is heart-warming that people are continuing to support the Archie Foundation.

"We never fail to be amazed by the generosity of our supporters. It is incredible that our fundraising total has increased so significantly.

"The money will allow us to continue to support young patients and their families in north Scotland."

During 2023, the charity awarded more than 300 grants totalling almost £550,000, ranging from support for individual families to funding specialist neonatal equipment (£98,307).

The majority of requests for financial aid – 79 per cent – were from Grampian. The rest were split between Tayside (12 per cent), Highlands (7 percent) and the Northern Isles (2 per cent).

Paula Cormack of the Archie Foundation.
Paula Cormack of the Archie Foundation.

Ms Cormack said the foundation's financial support was available throughout north Scotland.

"We know that unexpected or urgent hospital admissions can put additional strain on family finances," she said.

"We want families to know that our support is available to them, whether they are looking for help to buy essential items or to cover travel expenses.

"Our grants are wide ranging, and our aim is that every one of them, irrespective of amount, makes a difference to the recipient.

"Some of the requests we receive are for things that many of us would take for granted, such as the family that received £10 to enable them to book a taxi to take their child to a hospital appointment."

She paid tribute to the supporters who selflessly donated their time and energy, whether in a volunteer role or to take on a challenge and raise funds and awareness.

"We never fail to be amazed by the lengths our supporters will go to," she said.

"In the last 12 months, we have had people scaling mountains at home and abroad as well as adults and children taking part in the Battle of the Badges tournaments with the emergency services."

The event will return to Grampian later this year and will also be hosted in the Highlands and Tayside for the first time.

The charity’s support includes the Archie Child Bereavement Service (ACBS) which extended into the Highlands, Tayside and Orkney in 2022 and experienced record referrals in all three regions in 2023.

Almost 500 children referred to ACBS last year for free professional support.

The foundation also helped more than 1000 parents by providing family accommodation at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

In total, it provided 3603 bed nights with more than half the recipients coming from the Highlands, Tayside, Orkney and Shetland.

"It’s important that we can offer accommodation to families whose children are being cared for in hospital," Ms Cormack said.

"Having access to a home away from home can make all the difference during what can be an extremely stressful time.

"It’s also another way The Archie Foundation can help to ease financial pressures families may face."

Visit Archie.org/getsupport for more information about the practical, financial and emotional support available.

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