It's the kind of phone call charities dream of and they don't come around very often, but that's what's happened to Cherry Trees when we picked up a call and were told we had been selected to benefit from £180,000 of National Lottery funding.

This huge windfall, will support our costs for the provision of 24 hour overnight stays for children and young people with advanced, complex and rare disabilities, with funding promised across the next three years.  

The money will help to cover the cost of a 24 hour stay which includes; on-shift care workers and chef, food, and a night nurse who works around the clock to provide comfort and re-assurance to those children who struggle to settle or complete an entire night’s sleep.

Our application was successful because of our home from home environment, with space for up to fourteen stays a night and we are also is one of the few charities of this kind in the area, supporting 115 families locally.

“Many of our young people come to Cherry Trees because their families just need that extra support by having them stay with us – perhaps for an evening, a weekend or in some cases a week”, says Paula Rankin Head of Care. Many of our families reach out to us when they are tired, tell us they are at ‘breaking point’ or simply need some time to do other things which simply aren’t possible when 100% of their time is taken, caring for a child with disabilities. By providing our 24 hour overnight stays we can take good care of a young person, feed them, provide activities and in-turn that could be the one night their parents get to spend with other siblings, catch up on their house work or get a good night’s rest themselves. Our respite stays are a win-win for both the young person and their family. ”

A visit from The National Lottery Community Funding team in September 2018 enabled us to show case the house with our ball play and playroom, den, gardens and high spec kitchen and dining area, as well as the bedrooms enabling their team to better understand our charities purpose.

Elly De Decker, Senior Head of Regional Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said; “We are delighted to support the fantastic work of Cherry Trees, which provides a warm, homely and fun environment for children and young people with complex needs to build their confidence and independence. Respite services offer a lifeline for families and carers who need a break from the demands of caring for their child or children, and thanks to National Lottery players Cherry Trees is able to keep families together and help communities to thrive.” 

News of the funding, with the first grant of £60,000 being awarded this month is a significant boost to the fundraising efforts of the charity which has to find over £572,000 every year to meet annual running costs which include tea-time visits, outings, farm visits, parties and short breaks.  

Jill Cook Head of Fundraising who submitted the application said; ‘When the call came in to tell us we were going to receive some money I was speechless, however by the time the call finished there were a lot of excited whoops and shouts in office that day! I am thrilled that the National Lottery Community Fund recognised the value of the services we provide day in and day out to our families and children. Funding of this size enables us to start 2019 feeling confident about our service provision. Thanks to thousands of people playing the lottery every week, one very much local, independent charity that is Cherry Trees, reliant on donations and the support of our community has benefited. Thank you.”