Take a look at the new £1.6m makeover at Derian House Children's Hospice in Chorley

Top class facilities including a sensory room, messy play zone and cinema have been unveiled as part of a £1.6m makeover at Derian House Children's Hospice.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:45 am

Last spring, the Chorley-based hospice began a huge project to make the site “fit for the future” so it could continue to care for children with increasingly complex conditions for many years to come.

Walls were knocked down and the hospice was remodelled into a lighter, brighter and more flexible space, with the very latest technology added.

· The new PlayZone, sponsored by AO Smile, includes a large sensory room for both stimulation and relaxation. It also includes a large messy play area to allow children to unleash their creativity and make cherished keepsakes such as hand and footprints.

Bruno Francioli, four, with mums Maz Francioli and Christine Francioli, in the cinema room

· A new £100,000 cinema room will allow families to watch the latest releases together, with a popcorn and candy floss machine providing the finishing touches for an authentic experience.

· A new accessible kitchen in The Lodge – the area of the hospice reserved for teenagers and young adults – will allow youngsters to bake or fix themselves snacks. This area has been sponsored by Red Sea Pedestrians.

· A new sunflower suite will allow children to lay at rest before their funeral, to give families extra time to say goodbye.

Cutting-edge technology has been added to rooms to give the youngsters greater independence - including special sensors on doors for wheelchair users, smart speakers in all bedrooms, and a new kitchen with counter tops that rise and fall.

Lucy finger painting with staff Nadira and Ben in the Play Zone

David Robinson, chief executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: "We wanted to lead the way in children’s palliative care and I am thrilled that our new facilities – along with the dedication of our staff and volunteers – allow us to do that. Derian House is now at the very pinnacle of care available to families.

“Thank you to all of our donors who have made this wonderful refurbishment possible. It’s thanks to their kind donations that Derian House will be able to offer children from across the North West the very best care now and way into the future.”

Christine Francioli's four-year-old son Bruno has a rare genetic condition and is visually impaired. He comes to Derian House for respite and also accesses the Derian at Home service.

Christine said: "Derian House is a home from home for us. It is such a beautiful place and allows Bruno to do the things a little boy should be doing like going for a swim or playing on the park. Without Derian he wouldn’t have these opportunities.

Michael in a ball pit with Prisha Patel and Arron Taylor

"Bruno is very vulnerable and tends to pick everything up. He can't even go to school in winter because of all the bugs and so we stay at home a lot. Last week we came to use the new cinema room and couldn't believe how amazing it was. Bruno lay on a big beanbag and looked up at the lights on the ceiling and fell asleep while me, my partner and our daughter watched a movie. Being able to have that experience as a family without worrying was so good."

David Wilkinson, trustee at AO Smile, said: “AO and all our people care greatly. This is reflected in a strong desire to support our local communities, with particular focus on improving the lives of young people. Derian House does an incredible job for children and their families going through unbelievably tough times, and reflects AO’s values. AO Smile Foundation is both proud and delighted to donate the Smile Play Zone, not only on behalf of the company but also recognising the fundraising efforts of all AO’ers.”

Fun the the sensory room
David Wilkinson a trustee at AO Smile with Chief executive David Robinson