Published: 08/03/2016 17:30 - Updated: 08/03/2016 09:19

Last push needed to reach target

Written byVal Sweeney

The outside play area at the new unit.
The outside play area at the new unit.

A call to arms has been issued as the Highland Children’s Unit Appeal looks to reach its target with one last push.

The appeal is just £70,000 shy of its £2 million target, and hopes are high that it will reach that goal next month after announcing plans for Final Push Friday.

Supporters are already planning a range of events for the March 18 event – from a bed push at Raigmore Hospital to an invitation for businesses to have a one-hour slot in the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

Organisations and individuals are also being invited to hold their own fundraising events whether it is a workplace bake sale or a school fancy dress day.

The appeal, launched by the ARCHIE Foundation in conjunction with The Inverness Courier, is creating a more child-centred and family-focused children’s department at Raigmore Hospital.

Construction work – involving the redevelopment and extension of the hospital’s former ward 11, previously used for respiratory patients — is now forging ahead with the new unit set to open its doors in April.

For almost five years there has been overwhelming public support for the appeal.

And Laura Mackintosh, the ARCHIE Foundation’s head of fundraising for the Highlands, Islands and Western Isles, is urging everyone to get involved in the final push.

"We have had tremendous support throughout the whole of this campaign from 2011 and we really appreciate everyone who has supported it so far," she said.

"As we near the target, we need everyone’s help now more than ever to be able to complete the unit which will make a lasting difference to children throughout the Highlands and Western Isles.

"Whatever you do, do something on March 18 for the ARCHIE Foundation."

Other suggestions include having a donation tin in workplace staff rooms with employees paying £1 every time they have a tea break while employers could have raffle among their work force for a day off.

Pupils at an Inverness primary school, meanwhile, are almost at the halfway stage in a month-long challenge to raise £2000 to help equip a school room in the new children’s department.

Drakies Primary School has run fundraising Friday afternoons throughout February and has so far raised more than £700 from various events including a weekly school challenge such as learning to speak some Mandarin, a danceathon with two local personal trainers, a pottery challenge and outdoor learning.

The 226-pupil school has also enlisted the support of a range of people to pose for photographs publicising their fundraising text number. They include Highland band Torridon, pupils from Daviot and Raigmore Primary Schools, Millburn Academy pupils and former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan.

* Anyone wanting to register for the Final Push Friday fundraiser should email laura@archiefoundation.org.uk. The organisation can provide T-shirts, balloons, collection tubs and support.

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