My Charity Story: Grenville

“Without the Charity, we wouldn’t have been able to open Snow Leopard last year or maybe ever.”

Dr Grenville Fox, Clinical Director for Children’s Medical Specialities and Neonatology at Evelina London lead on the development of Snow Leopard – a bespoke, modern and colourful long-term ventilation unit for children and their families.

Why was Snow Leopard needed?

The service we had before was located in the middle of lots of acute services for children, which is not ideal for patients or their families. The children using the service often have to stay in hospital for weeks or even months, are quite vulnerable and susceptible to picking up infections. They often have life-long conditions, and need a different type of care and environment to be best supported.

What challenges did this project face?

The largest was getting funding – it’s very difficult to get that sort of investment through the NHS for a relatively new and innovative service. Even when the funding was obtained, there were logistical challenges around where it should go in the hospital, and also about the physical location and building work. However, I think we overcame them pretty well.

"It’s really important that there’s a clear understanding about people’s hard efforts to fundraise and how carefully that money is spent afterwards."

How does the new space help to provide better care?

Snow Leopard has six bed spaces for children of all ages; from babies up to those fully transitioning into adult care. There’s a play room, a family room, consultation rooms and therapy rooms. The unit enables children to either stay long term or short term.

It’s great to have a distinct facility, away from the acute wards, where staff can concentrate on just one particular patient group.


Could you have achieved the same result without charitable funding?

We were able to obtain £2 million of fundraised donations for the project. Without this support from the Charity, I don’t think we would have been able to open the unit either this year, next year or maybe ever. It’s been invaluable and has provided enormous benefit for the children and families; we couldn’t have achieved all this without that support.

It’s really important that there’s a clear understanding about people’s hard efforts to fundraise and how carefully that money is then considered in terms of its spending afterwards. From the applicant’s point of view, it’s easy to submit an application, but in terms of scrutiny, the committee go through an extremely robust process before the funds are awarded.

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