Engage Foundation community award ensures special space for families of sick children

Posted in: Foundation Last updated: 24 Jul 2014

A home which provides accommodation and support for families of children receiving treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital has received a £5,000 funding boost from the Engage Foundation.

Acorn House, part of The Sick Children’s Trust, has won a £5,000 award from Engage Mutual and will use the money to fund a new kitchen in the house – ensuring facilities will be continually available for the families of some of the UK’s most seriously ill children.

The house was in desperate need for funding as the kitchen was in a poor state of repair after years of continual use. Families use the facilities daily to take some time away from the hospital wards to have lunch or cook a proper dinner. The funding from Engage Mutual ensured the overall target of £20,000 was achieved, meaning work on the new kitchen can finally commence.

Engage Mutual customer, Caroline Holloway, applied for the funding from the Mutual’s Foundation, which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for its customers to make their lives and communities better. Although only Engage Mutual customers can nominate a community project for funding from the Engage Foundation, the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects decided by the highest number of votes.

Caroline, who is also a member of the Cambridge Fundraising Committee for The Sick Children’s Trust said, “Acorn House has been open for 14 years and in that time our 15 family bedrooms have almost been continually occupied. The house provides a sanctuary for families who spend the majority of their days up at the hospital by their children’s bedside. With Addenbrooke’s Hospital being a centre of research, teaching and pioneering treatment, we have families from all over the UK coming to Cambridge in need of accommodation close to their children. This is why the work that we do is vital as it not only solves a practical problem, but also ensures the support and well-being of the family which in turn helps them work through such a terrible time.

“The kitchen within Acorn House is not just a space to prepare food, but the heart of the house where families gather after emotionally exhausting days. They share food, stories and occasionally tears. It is this time that makes them realise that they are not alone and can offer support to one another in a way that is truly inspiring. With Engage Mutual offering us the final piece of the fundraising puzzle, we can now ensure that this space is up to the standard that these brave and wonderful families deserve.”

As a mutual organisation, Engage is owned by, and run for, its customers. The Engage Foundation was set up to provide customers like Caroline with personal grants and awards for community projects. Customers can apply to help what matters to them in their corner of the world (the communities in which they live). All customers need to do to be considered, is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.

Anna Drabble, Head of Community at Engage Mutual said “When we set up the Engage Foundation earlier on in the year we did so with one overriding objective: to enable customers to benefit from the financial success of their business. We think it’s great to be able to help a community project or a good cause that our customers feel passionate about. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the finished work funded by the £5,000 grant and wish everyone at Acorn House all the very best.”