A charitable initiative, devised to help fund a new children’s hospice, has attracted international support already.
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) launched its online fundraising concept, Buy a Brick, on the same November day that foundations were dug out for its purpose-built hospice in Framingham Earl.
Work started after the Nook Appeal reached £7 million, but the organisation must raise £10 million in total.
Such has been the interest in the scheme, that as well as generous donations from the region, EACH has seen bricks purchased from as far afield as the United States.
Jules Montgomery is a 56-year-old executive assistant, who lives in Washington DC and was delighted to support the cause.
She said: “All I knew about EACH was what I saw my sister and brother-in-law posting on their Facebook pages from time to time.
“I knew it was something to do with children in the area they lived and that EACH wanted to build a new hospice. I had no idea why they both posted about this particular organisation, though, and hadn’t looked into it.”
She added: “Over Christmas I saw a Buy a Brick Facebook post and thought it was a cute idea – everybody can feel they’ve literally helped build the hospice if they buy a brick rather than just generically donating cash.
“In full-on festive mode, I decided to buy a brick!”
Jules has since found out more about EACH – her discoveries including that her brother-in-law, Julian Geraghty, actually works for the charity as a nurse!
Closer to home, Kim Rhodes, 42, an assistant practitioner at Norfolk & Suffolk’s mental health trust, was bought a brick as one of her Christmas presents.
Kim lives in Norwich with sons Alex, 18, who has just finished training to become a chef, and Cieran, 16, a student at Taverham High School.
Her family gave money to EACH following the funeral of her nan seven years ago. She also used to work with Debbie McLean, who raises money for the charity after it supported her family through the death of her 18-month-old son, Stanley.
“Alex wanted to buy something a little different, but also help others,” said Kim.
“We’re aware what important work EACH does to support children and families at a very difficult time. Dealing with the loss of a child must be awful and the aftercare and support that’s given must be invaluable.
“I admit I was very emotional on Christmas Day, not only to have the brick but also as Alex had arranged this with the help of his nan, who I believe found out about the scheme through a chance conversation with friends. I’m very proud to have this brick and help towards the fundraising.”
Companies have also been eager to show their support.
The New Homes Group and Ridgeons have supported Buy a Brick by buying £10,000 and £2,500 worth of bricks respectively.
Nic Spaull, Chief Executive of the New Homes Group, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the nook appeal by funding some gold bricks. Knowing the fantastic care that EACH provides means we’re committed to helping them build a new children’s hospice for Norfolk.
“The Buy a Brick initiative also has a great synergy with our business. As the nook wall is online we’re able to easily share our bricks with our staff and customers, and hope other companies will want to join us and be part of this fantastic campaign.”
Ian Northen, CEO of the Ridgeon Group, said: “Ridgeons is very proud to be a supporter of the Buy a Brick campaign, raising money for the nook in Norfolk. We’re sure the new hospice will make a significant difference to the care of children and young people by EACH – our charity partner.
“Since Ridgeons has branches throughout the county, it’s a fantastic way for us to help the charity’s local project. Also, as a leading regional timber and builders’ merchants, we’re delighted to be involved in such an important building project.”
The nook is being built on a five-acre site. It will be spread across a single floor, have more areas for clinical care than EACH’s current Norfolk hospice in Quidenham, a hydrotherapy pool, a state-of-the-art sensory room, larger and better equipped en-suite bedrooms, dedicated therapy rooms and much more.
Supporters can buy a brick in memory of a loved one, as a gift or to visibly show their backing, for £20 – name on a brick – £100 – name alongside a message – £500 – name, message and an image or logo – or £1,000 – a special GOLD brick for those who really want to stand out. The package also features a bespoke printed certificate and an invitation to visit the nook once building is complete. To get involved in this exciting online campaign go to www.each.org.uk/buyabrick.