An international fundraising collaboration by Rotarians in Bideford and Germany has raised nearly £40,000 for the Little Bridge House children’s hospice in Fremington.
Money raised at a barn dance in Yarnscombe nearly two years ago was the catalyst for the major project by the Rotary Club of Bideford and the Rotary Club of Uelzen.
The event at the farm of John Edwards in July 2017 raised £7,800 for Children's Hospice South West but has since been boosted to £39,170 thanks to support from the twin club in Germany and a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. It is first successful global grant application in the Bideford club's 94-year history.
Jacquie Willoughby, last year's club president, said John, a former president himself, was the inspiration for the project.
“John is a passionate supporter of Little Bridge House and wanted to raise funds to help them before he retired from Rotary,” she said.
“The nurse call system there had been in use since the hospice first opened in 1995 and no longer fit for purpose.
“There was no in-room CCTV and it needed ripping out and replacing with modern, hi-tech equipment.
“There was also a need for a bespoke bed that could cater for children and young people of all sizes with complex needs.”
Jacquie said it was a 'huge request' to ask the president of the Rotary Club of Uelzen to donate funds to CHSW to they could apply for the Rotary Foundation Global Grant.
“We needed an international partner to multiply the funds raised locally by five but first we needed to explain what the children's hospice is and what it does for the Devon families of children with life- limiting conditions as they have no equivalent in Germany,” added Jacquie.
Members of the German Rotary visited the CHSW last April and then decided to back the charity with €6,000.
This allowed the Bideford club to successfully apply for their donations to be boosted, and this funded a new, wireless system as well as a state-of-the-art equipment which can film in infra-red at night and can be turned on or off by parents using a key switch in the bedroom.
Tracy Freame, head of care at Little Bridge House, said: “We can't thank Bideford Rotary enough for all their help and support.
“They have given us the opportunity to completely upgrade our original nurse call system, bringing it into the 21st century with, CCTV cameras and wireless technology to allow the most vulnerable children and young people to access the grounds here, knowing that help can be with them very quickly if required.
“We have also been able to purchase a bespoke bed, which will allow us to provide a wide age group of children and young people with a safe and comfortable environment for them to sleep, allowing us to offer the families as many choices as possible to make their stay the best experience.”