Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital: Doors open at Ronald McDonald House

After years of planning and building new accommodation for families with unwell children receiving treatment at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People has opened.

By Shona Elliott
Friday, 7th May 2021, 7:00 am

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Located on the top floor of the Little France children’s hospital the brand-new facility helps keep parents close to their unwell children.

The 25 bedroom house provides families from all over Scotland with a free place to sleep and cook while helping retain some sense of normal life.

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Parents Alison and Donald Livingston in Ronald McDonald House Edinburgh.

It also saves families an average of £1,867 in out-of-pocket accommodation expenses.

The new service officially opens today (April 7) but one family in need has already benefited from the new service.

The parents of 14-year-old Lucy Livingston from the Isle of Skye were referred to the service yesterday after issues with their daughter’s spinal fusion treatment led to an extended stay in the Capital.

Donald and Alison Livingston said they “don’t know” what they would have done if it wasn't for the Ronald MacDonald House.

Mr Livingston said: “If we hadn't had accommodation, I'm not actually sure how we would've dealt with it, coming from Skye.

“I don't know how that would've worked in a post-covid environment, trying to get accommodation in Edinburgh.

“I can't imagine how hard it would be. We would've had to travel continually.

“It is a lifesaver. It's exactly what you would need for what we're going through.”

Mrs Livingston said she is pleased to be able to cook in the accommodation’s kitchen and not have to live off takeaways and microwave meals.

She said: "I think the kitchen gives you a bit of normality. It's a strange environment, living within the hospital, and being able to come away and make a cup of tea and cook your dinner and eat properly and not living off takeaways, makes quite a big difference.”

Mr Livingston added that being able to stay so close to their daughter has made his hospital experience easier.

He said: “The Ronald McDonald facilities are five minutes away from Lucy, so we're both able to take turns and go and see her. We could get away to get a sleep or just a wee break anytime we wanted.”

House Manager of Ronald McDonald House Edinburgh, Gary Ridgewell there is a steady stream of visitors starting to stay in the accommodation.

He said: “We are steadily taking in families, in compliance with current covid restrictions, and hope to welcome in many more as restrictions ease, as they seek the best possible care for their child in the hospital.”

The costly project was made possible with the support of McDonald’s customers, restaurants and Franchisees in Scotland, who raised £3.9 million through the Scottish Government’s bag charge initiative.

Local McDonald’s franchisee Graham Angus said: “The McDonald’s family are so proud to support such an incredible charity, and to see the net proceeds of the bag charge go to such a brilliant cause is a proud moment for us and our customers.”

Home-grown football star Kenny Dalglish visited the brand new family accommodation today to celebrate the official opening.

He said: “As a parent myself, I can only imagine the hardship families go through when their child is sick in hospital.

“I am so pleased to be supporting this fantastic cause which will help support more families at a difficult time.”

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