Our Charity of the Year for 2020-2021 is Ronald McDonald House Bristol (RMHBristol)

RMHBristol is a small local independent charity providing free of charge accommodation and support to families whose critically ill children are being treated in Bristol Children’s Hospital. Their aim is to support the whole family – whatever its dynamic, for the duration of their child’s stay in hospital.

As Bristol is a huge hospital treating well over 33 conditions, for families living all over the south west it is the closest hospital that has the expertise to treat certain conditions. For example a family from Cornwall will find themselves in Bristol after their child has been airlifted to hospital following an accident. Or new parents from Devon will be in a similar situation when their newborn baby has been diagnosed with a heart condition and is sent to Bristol by ambulance for a lifesaving operation.

Once a family has been given a room at RMHBristol, the house becomes their home for the days, weeks, months and sometimes years their child is in hospital. RMHBristol is described as a ‘home away from home’ and comprises 21 ensuite bedrooms, 4 fully equipped communal kitchen and dining areas, lounge and playroom, laundry facilities and gardens. It is a practical yet homely environment, supplying families with a vital respite space, away from, yet close to the clinical environment of the hospital.

RMHBristol’s aim is to consistently provide their families with as many home comforts as possible, as well as to reduce their financial strain and stress. Practical and emotional support is also on hand for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A member of staff is always there to find them an extra towel or be there for them if they receive the worst possible news. Keeping the family unit together is important for the families at this turbulent time as it has been proven to reduce their stress and strengthen family bonds which can aid the recovery of their child.

Situated just under a 5 minute walk from the hospital, families can be away from yet close to their child and able get to the hospital quickly if there is an emergency.

Since RMHBristol first opened its doors in November 2002 they have been full every night and in that time have accommodated over 8,200 families. There is always a long waiting list for a room! Prior to being given a room, families have to pay for an expensive hotel, travel miles daily to and from home and hospital and many have even been forced to sleep in their cars.

It costs £35 per night to provide a family with a room, taking into account cleaning, laundering, rent, rates, electricity, gas, maintenance, staff costs and additional overheads. As there are 21 bedrooms this equates to over £270,000 of running costs every year. On top of that there are the constant repairs and maintenance of the building and the replacement of essential items within it such as kettles, mattresses, washing machines, etc.

As an independent charity RMHBristol receives no statutory or regular guaranteed funding, which means they heavily rely on their events, public donations, corporate funding and grants as well as the support of groups such as Bristol Junior Lawyers Division.

As well as financial assistance there are plenty of other ways to support RMHBristol; such as donating items from their ‘wishlist’ attending their events as well as many volunteering opportunities. As the house is situated just off St Michael’s Hill, Bristol, volunteers and supporters are able to visit, enabling them to get a feel for how and where every penny raised is spent. Volunteers are welcome to help practically around the house donating skills such as IT, printing, assisting with writing grant applications and gardening. Volunteers are also encouraged to help out during challenges and other events, eg. supporting runners/skydivers/swimmers/cyclists, helping with toy sales and at their annual dinner dance.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Bristol and how you can help please go to their website by clicking the logo below.


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Thank you everyone for supporting our Charity of the Year:

Charity of the Year 2018-2019: OTR (Off the Record) – TBC 

Charity of the Year 2017-2018: SARSAS – £3,734.30.

Charity of the Year 2016-2017: The Sky Project – £2,757.

Charity of the Year 2015-2016: Julian Trust Night Shelter – £6,023.55.

Charity of the Year 2014-2015: Macmillan Cancer Support – £4,812

Charity of the Year 2013-2014: West of England MS Therapy Centre – £4,271.07

Charity of the Year 2012-2013: Children’s Hospice South West – £4,079.80

Charity of the Year 2011-2012: The Alzheimer’s Society – £4,929.06

Charity of the Year 2010-2011: Jessie May Trust  – £4,632.31

In the Press:

**Please note we choose our Charity of the Year in December each year.