Derian House unveil major new play area plans

Derian House children's hospice, Chorley
Derian House children's hospice, Chorley
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  • New playground can be used by both life-threatened children and their able-bodied siblings
  • Scheme made possible by AO Smile Foundation the charitable arm of online electrical retailer AO.com
  • AO staff plan to raise £35,000 by cycling 600 miles from Germany to their UK head office
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A children’s charity has unveiled major plans for a new playground which can be used by both life-threatened children and their able-bodied siblings.

Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley has been given the go ahead for the new facility - one of the first of its kind in the North West.

The team at AO is thrilled to be involved in the build of a truly life-changing children’s park in the North West.

Steve Caunce

The scheme has been made possible by the AO Smile Foundation, the charitable arm of online electrical retailer AO.com, whose employees are raising funds by cycling from Germany to Bolton.

Staff are planning a gruelling 600-mile ride from their new German operation in Heppendorf, near Cologne, to their UK head office in Bolton.

They are aiming to raise £35,000 from sponsorship, which the AO Smile Foundation will then match fund, meaning Derian House is set to receive a £70,000 from AO.

The playground will be the first major building project at Derian House since ‘The Lodge’ - the hospice’s purpose-built unit for 16-26-year-olds - was completed in 2010. It will not be open to the general public, but Derian House will make it available to families with life-threatened children and their siblings, regardless of whether or not they have previously received support from the hospice.

The children’s park is being supplied by Wicksteed Playgrounds, and will include wheelchair-friendly roundabouts and swings that can also be used by their brothers and sisters.

Georgina Cox, Derian House, CEO said: “This amazing new facility will make a huge difference to the lives of our families. Many of the children we look after who have life-shortening conditions also have a brother or sister, and there are not many places their parents can take them where they can play together. We are so grateful to the AO Smile Foundation and the staff who’ll be cycling such a long way to allow this to happen.”

Steve Caunce, who is leading up the AO cycle team and is AO’s COO, said: “The team at AO is thrilled to be involved in the build of a truly life-changing children’s park in the North West.

“Training has already begun in earnest, with the team undertaking weekly group training rides around Rivington.

“AO has been working with Derian House for the last couple of years and the team here strongly believes in the fantastic work it undertakes to support children and families across the North West, in the most difficult of circumstances. With this firmly front of mind, our goal is to raise £35,000 through fundraising with the AO group charity, the AO Smile Foundation, doubling each pound that is donated.”

AO has worked with Derian House for the last two years following an initial fundraiser when 13 staff rode from John O’Groats to Lands End in summer 2013. The team raised £100,000, spent on supporting the siblings of children who attend the hospice.