Thursday, 26 September 2019 18:02

The Ark, Barnet: “best children’s hospice in the world”

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Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, opened the Ark children’s hospice in Byng Road, Barnet, with Rose Charles (centre), and her daughter Sophie, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, opened the Ark children’s hospice in Byng Road, Barnet, with Rose Charles (centre), and her daughter Sophie, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, officially opened the Ark in Byng Road, Barnet – the new £8.5 million state-of-the-art children’s hospice that will support children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in north and central London and Hertsmere.

Children and their families will have immediate use of the play and activity areas and the hospice, with six bedrooms for children and three family rooms, should be up and running early next year, once approval has been gained from the Care Quality Commission, and fully operational by next summer.

Mr Khan paid tribute to what he said had been a fantastic fund-raising campaign on behalf of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice which had brought together the people of north London and surrounding areas.

There had been an amazing response from individual donors, the business world, faith and community groups, schools and top of the range sponsors such as Tottenham Hotspur football club whose players and supporters had done so much to raise the profile of Noah’s Ark.

“Tottenham Hotspur now have the best football stadium in the world, and I can say – after my whistle-stop tour of the Ark – that we now have the best home in the world for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

“The Ark will offer some very brave families and their children an opportunity to express themselves. The Ark is full of light, life and love and it is a privilege to be here.”

Mr Khan was shown round the Ark by Alison Goodman, director of fund raising, who was accompanied by the Spurs’ goalkeeper and captain, Hugo Lloris, the Spurs’ women’s team skipper, Jenna Schillaci, and the club’s executive director Donna-Maria Cullen.

Ms Cullen said Spurs had been delighted to help Noah’s Ark raise their profile and the club’s players and fans had done all they could to help raise the £8.5 million needed to build the hospice.

Jeremy Isaacs, chair of the charity’s trustees, began proceedings at the opening ceremony (26.9.2019) with one word “Wow”.

We did it...the opening of the Ark is such a huge day for us all, especially for families across London who have been telling us for so long about their hopes and dreams of a fully equipped children’s hospice.

“We did it...the opening of the Ark is such a huge day for us all, especially for families across London who have been telling us for so long about their hopes and dreams of a fully equipped children’s hospice.”

Noah’s Ark charity was founded in 1999, and there had been community care since 2006, but at long last the opening of the Ark would provide a safe environment for end of life care in partnership with the NHS.

In introducing the Mayor of London, the Ark’s chief executive Ru Watkins, said the hospice would now be able to support many more of the 1,200 children across north London and Hertsmere who needed assistance.

Mr Watkins introduced Rose Charles, whose 13-year-old daughter Sophie has the support of Noah’s Ark.

He said Ms Charles had been a source of real inspiration for the charity and they had made a joint pledge to get the Ark completed in time for Sophie to take advantage of its facilities.

Ms Charles told the assembled guests that her son Ben, who died in 2014, at the age of 17, had also been supported by Noah’s Ark and her family was so grateful for the charity’s help.

In his tour of the Ark, Mr Khan was shown the brightly lit sensory playroom, the high-dependency unit and the bereavement suite.

Innovations in the building itself include solar panels and a green roof.

Ms Goodman explained to the Mayor that the Ark shared the site of the Byng Road nature reserve with the Friends of the Barnet Environment Centre.

“Our E-centre is a lovely partnership with the environment centre next door whose volunteers care for the nature reserve and who show children around so that they can get as close as possible to a natural environment.”

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