Duke of Kent opens new children's hospice in Fermanagh
A new children's hospice in Fermanagh will allow children with life-limiting illnesses to receive care and support closer to home after it was officially opened by the Duke of Kent yesterday.
Horizon West is the second children's hospice in Northern Ireland that will offer palliative care for children with conditions like muscular dystrophy, neurological disorders and life threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
A fundraising appeal, launched five years ago, raised over £1.5m to fund the building of the new facility.
Yesterday, the Duke officially opened the hospice and he met with some of the 30 children and the families from Fermanagh and Tyrone that the charity will support.
The Queen's cousin also played with them in the new multi-sensory room and toured the accommodation that will allow families to spend time with their children when they need round the clock care.
The Duke also shared time with staff and children creating a piece of art.
The first hospice, Horizon House in Newtownabbey, was opened in 2001 and has helped provide palliative care for hundreds of children from across Northern Ireland.
The new Fermanagh hospice will allow the charity to offer care and support to a facility on the doorstep of families living in the most rural parts of Northern Ireland.
There are around 136 children in the Fermanagh and Tyrone area with life-limiting illnesses and Northern Ireland Children's Hospice (NICH) currently works with 30 of these children through services at Horizon West and in the community.
NICH hopes to develop Horizon West to allow them to offer help and support to more of these children.
Tina McCrossan, NICH director of Children's Services, explained: "Horizon West will provide a range of support for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.
"A mixture of planned stays at Horizon West as well as support for parents and siblings will be the focus of the facility, strengthening local children's hospice services currently being provided across Northern Ireland. We are committed to providing accessible, high quality clinical care and family support remains a priority for the charity."
Fermanagh Support Group chairperson Gladys O'Callaghan said: "What has been achieved locally in Fermanagh and Tyrone is extraordinary. The total raised to date now sits at £1.5m and all our efforts are now focused on annual running costs.
"I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Fermanagh Support Group to thank the local people and all those who have given so generously for all they have done and continue to do to support children's hospice services."