Dear friend

At Alder Hey Children’s Charity we know the importance of a good relationship.

While we are always delighted to welcome brand new supporters, we are also so grateful to those who have stayed with us for much longer. Some of our long term partners who have been with us for many years, have truly become friends of the charity and are an important part of the Alder Hey Family.

Our relationship with the Jockey Club stretches back over two decades. In that time, we’ve all seen many changes. Friends and colleagues have come and gone, but the Alder Hey and Jockey Club partnership has stayed steadfast, and even grown.

In 2022, the celebration of our 20 year relationship coincides with the end of our 7in10 Children's Mental Health fundraising appeal. Mental health and wellbeing is close to both our hearts and is something that we care deeply about.

Since the pandemic our amazing Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services team at Alder Hey (CAMHS) have seen a significant rise in the number of referrals that they are receiving from children and young people who need our help. Our new mental health buildings will provide vital services to children and young people who have complex needs and have been designed around the needs of the children and young people being cared for. The Catkin Centre to be very sensory focussed to create a feeling of safety, security and be very welcoming to the children and young people who visit. Sunflower House will increase the bed capacity for those children needing 24 hour care in a special, home-from-home environment.

In 2020, the Charity pledged to raise £3 million towards this ambitious build. Despite the challenges of the pandemic we are very nearly at our target, in fact we are just £300,000 away. 

In this very special year, our wonderful friends at the Jockey Club have pledged to help us close this gap and reach our target by the end of the appeal. We've got some fund raising planned for this year’s Grand National Festival but we can't do this without your support. Can you help us reach our target?

We've still got some particular areas within the new build that need funding and you can read more on these below as well as Lydia’s story.

Lydia featured as the 41st Runner last year and we are hugely grateful to  her for sharing her story, which illustrates the importance of early intervention.

I'm looking forward to meeting you during the Grand National Festival along with some of the charity team, where we will be available to answer any questions you may have.


Kind regards,

Fiona Ashcroft
Chief Executive

Email Fiona: [email protected]



Lydia's Story



Specific areas that need funding

Patient bedrooms, £32,000 each, 8 needed
For many of our patients, their bedroom is the most important part of their home, as it offers a private space in which they can express their individuality and feel comfortable and safe. This is particularly important for patients with sensory processing disorders such as autism, who may struggle with particular colours, sounds or textures. The bedrooms in our new hub will be equipped with a range of innovative audio-visual equipment which will help children decorate the environment of their rooms to suit their needs, in a safe and impermanent way. This equipment will also allow children to talk to their families and play games with friends from home. Built in furniture will allow for storage of personal items and a relaxed atmosphere, whilst still meeting NHS safety and hygiene standards.

The Play Zone in Sunflower House, £49,900 
Play is essential to the physical and social development of all children and The Play Zone within Sunflower House will provide a dedicated playground space where children can experience some normality and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of spending time outdoors. It will be a multi-use space which can facilitate both individual play and group activities, encouraging children to build up new friendship groups. It will also include a range of play equipment, which will support children to reconnect with what makes them happy, smile and laugh. The space will be enclosed, offering security to our young patients and the area will have a soft rubber surface, ensuring safety at all times.

The calm zone – £32,000
The calm zone is a padded destimulation room, free of distractions, where staff can go to with children when an acute mental health crisis has escalated and a child needs to be in a very low stimulation environment to become calm again. As many of the children staying in The Sunflower House experience multiple severe mental health difficulties, often every-day situations and challenges can be extremely overwhelming and can result in many children feeling very dysregulated. The calm zone will comprise of padded walls, a specially-designed sofa that will be comfortable for a child to sit on with their key worker, and a floor-to-ceiling interactive screen specially designed for de-stimulation environments with different visual and sound settings to help relax children.

Garden Zones – playing and relaxing, £25,000 each
The courtyard garden at the centre of the new hub will give patients the opportunity to explore the therapeutic benefits of outside space. Sitting at the heart of the building, the new garden will be split into four themes, 2 of which we are still looking to fund:
Play – Giving children a space in which to participate in group games and activities will help them to socialise, experience a return to normality, and rediscover what makes them smile and laugh.
Relaxation – A range of flexible seating, sensory plants and water features will offer children a relaxing space in which to reflect privately or spend time with others.