Staff and families at a Wearside respite centre for poorly youngsters are celebrating after it was announced they will be given a cash boost of almost £200,000.
Sunderland’s Grace House has been successful in its application for money from the Big Lottery Fund and is to be awarded £186,666, spread over the next three years.
The Southwick site cares for children with complex disabilities, health needs and life-limiting conditions from all over the North East.
Its core service is short break care, where disabled children come and stay for a few nights every month, having the time of their lives while their families recharge their batteries.
Bosses say the grant from the Big Lottery Fund will help to create a holistic service, where the needs of the whole family are care for.
The funding award was announced by Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alan Emerson, who was also given a tour of the Faber Road facilities.
Dr Karen Parry, Grace House chief executive officer said: “This is fantastic news for us.
“Our short break service meets the needs of the disabled child, but we know that other family members need support and this is often very difficult to find.
“We will provide a one stop shop where families can come and find a range of support services they might otherwise have to wait a long time for.
“The grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable us to support 100 family members every year.”
The grant will enable Grace House to provide some much needed support services to parents, siblings and extended family members who take on a caring role for a disabled child in the family.
Support will include counselling, therapies, support groups and access to experts who can answer questions about the intense care that children with complex health conditions need on a daily basis.
All services will be free to families, and will be delivered from the new suite of rooms at Grace House.
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8billion to life-changing projects.
The Echo helped launch the campaign to build Grace House alongside late broadcaster Kathy Secker, the charity’s patron, in 2002.
Millions of pounds were raised by generous Wearsiders to help make the dream a reality.