Children set for breath of fresh air at Raigmore as latest ARCHIE project fully funded

A new all-weather play area will be a breath of fresh air for children in hospital thanks to The ARCHIE Foundation which has seen its latest project become fully-funded.

The Fresh Air Project will see outdoor spaces at the Highland Children’s Unit transformed into fun and welcoming areas for young patients and their families while they spend time in Raigmore Hospital.

ARCHIE Highland fundraising Committee members Laura Mackintosh, Mike Rae and Stuart Winterburn, ARCHIE Highland fundraising co-ordinator Dawn Cowie, ARCHIE patron Donnie Matheson, ARCHIE Chairman Joe Mackie, Chairwoman of ARCHIE Highland fundraising committee Mary Nimmo, ARCHIE Chief Executive David Wood and Community Engagement Ambassador David Sutherland.
Picture by Trevor Martin

Thanks to generous donations from supporters of, £139,199 has successfully been raised for the project.

The money was raised by individuals and groups within the community, as well as by events planned and supported by the Highland Fundraising Committee including the highly successful annual Moonlight Ball held at the Kingsmills Hotel.

The finished space will include topiary animals – including a 30ft Nessie – and will also mean children can play outside in all conditions, and have interesting and child-friendly views from the windows of the unit.

Fun sail-style canopies will cover the space offering shelter from both the sun and the rain allowing children to play whatever the weather.

A garden space will also be created allowing families to enjoy fresh air away from the confines of the hospital wards.

David Wood, The ARCHIE Foundation chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have fully-funded our Fresh Air Project.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us in our efforts to raise this money. This includes our dedicated Highland Fundraising Committee who have been instrumental in achieving this goal.

“It really is encouraging to have received so much support from the public and it is clear this is a cause close to the hearts of many people.

“I’d also like to thank NHS Highland for their continued support and we are proud to work with them to provide this brilliant project.”

Mary Nimmo, chairwoman of The ARCHIE Foundation Highland fundraising committee, said: “The ARCHIE Foundation Fundraising Board of the Highlands and Islands extend their grateful thanks to each and everyone who has given so generously.

“I once read ‘you cannot do great things on this earth, only small things but with great love’.  This has been borne out by the uplifting and incredible generosity of the people of the Highlands and Islands who have truly got on board with this amazing project.

“The Children’s Unit at Raigmore Hospital provides the most amazing care to our sick children and support to their loved ones.   Transforming the outdoor areas around the unit is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of the sick children and their families in the unit.”

NHS Highland Chief Executive Iain Stewart (left) and Highland Children’s Unit staff member Lee Davidson alongside members of the ARCHIE Highland fundraising committee.
Picture by Trevor Martin

Stuart Winterburn, a Highland fundraising committee board member, added: “The enthusiasm that has been displayed by people across the Highlands for this cause has been truly amazing.

“This means we can do more for the children’s ward at Raigmore and help make a real difference to the children and people who need it most.”

April Emmott, Senior Nurse for Paediatric Services, said: “We’re delighted that the fundraising target has been reached for the Fresh Air Project. Having garden areas and all weather outdoor spaces will be of great benefit to our patients and their families.

“The Highland Children’s Unit sees patients from across the Highlands and for them to have safe, comfortable outdoor space where they can spend time in the fresh air, away from a clinical environment will really enhance their patient experience. It will also create a visual display of colour and interest from the in-patients room windows.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped with the fundraising for this project. We are always so humbled by how much time and effort people put in to helping us. We really do appreciate it.”

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