A “TAX” on food bags is helping fund a new Ronald McDonald House for families at Edinburgh’s new Sick kids hospital.
The bag tax has raised £2m towards the £3.5m total cost of the new facility, the official name of which is The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.
The 25-bedroom house, the second in Scotland after Glasgow, is due to open later this year, allowing families of children being treated at the hospital to stay with them.
Elliot Jardine, who owns and operates restaurants across Edinburgh, Alloa, Falkirk and Stirling, said: “For the last four years, we have been proud to contribute the bag tax money from the restaurants to the building of this important facility. It’s important for us to tell customers where their 5p is going and allowing them to be part of the fundraising journey. Ronald McDonald Houses offer an invaluable service to families throughout the UK and we look forward to getting involved in more fundraising for the charity in the future.”
The new Ronald McDonald House, which will cost in the region of £3.5m, is expected to look after as many as 500 families each year. It will include communal areas such as lounges, kitchens, laundry facilities and a playroom, similar to the other 14 Ronald McDonald Houses across the UK. Every bedroom has a telephone directly linked to the children’s ward.
Jon Haward at Ronald McDonald House Charities, said: “We are so grateful to the McDonald’s franchisees and restaurant operators across Scotland who have contributed the bag tax to this cause for the past few years – it is amazing. We want to thank all the customers who have helped them reach this huge target.”
The house will be open 365 days a year, providing a free-of-charge place for families to rest, relax, eat and be together, away from the stress of the hospital ward, yet close enough to be by their child’s bed at a moment’s notice. While NHS Lothian is meeting the expense of the hospital itself, the £3.5m cost of building the extra facility, together with the annual £300,000 running costs, is being met by the charity.
There is already a 30-bedroom House in Glasgow, which has operated for over 19 years, providing that “home away from home” support.