The £45,000 project is being financed through donations made to the Sophie Rolf Trust ‘KissyPuppy’ which was established by parents Aaron and Gemma in memory of their daughter Sophie, who died last year.
The signing of the contract with local firm Brighstone Landscaping took place at the Hospice on yesterday (Tuesday) on what would have been the week of Sophie’s seventh birthday.
The play area is part of a programme by the Hospice – supported by KissyPuppy – to increase the services available to children and young people at EMH. Already KissyPuppy has raised money for the information and support service and a multi-use room at EMH which can be used by a child towards the end of their life.
The new play area outside EMH’s John Cheverton Centre will feature equipment including a clatter bridge, wobble board, timber team swing, a spinning saucer and swinging steps.
Gemma said the idea of a play area began when Sophie was a visitor to the Hospice:
“They had an indoor area but we all thought that there seemed to be a lot of children around – whether patients or those visiting relatives – who would welcome a larger outdoor area. Sophie was very enthusiastic about the idea and helped in some of the fundraising. We are delighted that we have now signed the contract to get the project underway.”
Hospice chief executive Jo Blackburn said:
“We are extremely grateful to the Sophie Rolf Trust and all those who have donated to the charity in so many ways.
“This play area is another important step in the process of providing services for children and young people. It will also be visible from the John Cheverton Centre which is fantastic as we know that many of the people using our service love to watch children enjoying themselves at play.”
Simon Hollis, director of Brighstone Landscaping said:
“As a local company we are absolutely delighted to be working with Earl Mountbatten Hospice and the Sophie Rolf Trust to create what will be a fabulous amenity for young visitors to the Hospice.”
Work will start next week and it is hoped the play area will be ready for use by November.
Photographed L-R: Jo Blackburn, Aaron Rolf, Gemma Rolf and Simon Hollis