Around £50,000 has been raised towards building a house for families to stay in while children receive cancer treatment after a campaign by a regional daily.
The Belfast Telegraph launched its Home from Home Appeal in conjunction with CLIC Sargeant to help raise the cash, which will be ploughed into building the new free-to-stay accommodation opposite the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
And the campaign has taken another step forward after planning bosses in the city gave the project the green light.
On reaching the £50,000 mark, Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “It’s been a fantastic partnership with CLIC Sargent and I am delighted that we have made our target.
“I’d like to thank all of our readers who donated pocket money, held a whip-round or wrote out a cheque.”
Construction work is due to begin this month.
To raise the cash, the newspaper held staff bake sales and coffee mornings, as well as an auction for readers to bid on one-of-a-kind prizes such as a hat belonging to football legend George Best.
The appeal attracted support from across the city, including cancer patient Ava Martin, 13, who designed a Christmas card to be sold to raise funds, as well as scores of donations.
The campaign was launched after CLIC Sargeant released a report entitled A Long Way From Home, which found that on average, families in Northern Ireland make a 95-mile round trip up to five times a week for cancer treatment for their child.
Homes From Home appeal project manager Roisin McKenna thanked the Belfast Telegraph for their efforts and said the new house would help alleviate the stress and expense of long journeys.
The full story can be read on the Telegraph’s website here.