THE Brighton Grand was lit up in emerald lights to greet guests arriving at the first Rockinghorse Children’s Charity gala dinner for two years on Saturday evening.
Three hundred guests arrived in The Empress Suite to be greeted by a stunning projector display along the west wall and beautiful table decorations, all themed to celebrate the charity’s emerald anniversary.
This year’s ball was supported by headline sponsor DMH Stallard and co-sponsored by FRP, Cardens Accountants, Creative Pod, The Grand Brighton and Rubix VT. Their support of the night meant every penny raised on the night can go to funding mental health projects across Sussex.
Hosted by television presenter Marcella Whittingdale, a long-term supporter of the charity, an incredible £59,000 was raised during the evening, all of which will be going to support a range of projects that support the mental health and wellbeing of hundreds of children across Sussex.
Firstly, they are funding an innovative Youth Worker programme at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, the only project of its kind in Sussex, which has shown to be an effective tool in reducing a range of A&E admissions for self-harm, suicide attempts and other mental health related issues amongst vulnerable young people.
Paediatric Consultant at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Dr Mohammed Rahman, spoke movingly to the guests about the dramatic rise in the numbers and severity of children and young people presenting to the Children’s Emergency Department with severe mental health issues.
Dr Rahman said:
“The lockdown has also affected what we see in the Children’s Emergency Department and the types of patients requiring admission to hospital. Over the last year or so we have had a huge increase in the number of teenagers we see with mental health related issues. And while we do our best, we simply don’t have the time to explore some of their underlying issues.
“That is where the introduction of a Youth Worker is really important. It is something that has been tried and tested in other hospitals similar to ours and we desperately need this additional resource.”
Alongside this they were also raising money for three wellbeing projects that support children and young people struggling to manage long-term, chronic health conditions. The projects, sea swimming, art therapy and woodland wellbeing days, all help these young people to explore their feelings, develop coping strategies and share their experiences with other young people in the same boat.
Speaking about these projects at the Ball, Donna Holland, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, said:
“Children and young people have been disproportionally affected by the events of the last couple of years, missing out on so many of the things they normally do, and this has left a lasting impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
“But thanks to our wonderful guests and sponsors who have celebrated with us this evening, we will be able to make Sussex a safer place for children and young people to be.”
Throughout the evening guests were able to enjoy performances by students of The Brighton Institute, who sang two numbers from the musical Wicked, a delicious three-course meal, live music from Allison David followed by a disco courtesy of Capital DJ, Dave Goodings.
Not only is this an amazing amount of money, but it’s made even more impressive as every single one of these prizes were donated absolutely free and included afternoon tea at The Ritz in London, emerald jewellery, meals at ten of Sussex’s best fine dining restaurants and a training ground experience at Brighton & Hove Albion FC.
There was also support from one of the charity’s long-term supporters, local boxing legend Chris Eubank Jnr, who donated a pair of signed boxing gloves to the auction.
In a video message to the guests, he said:
“I’ve worked with Rockinghorse many times in the past and I just wanted to show some support by signing a pair of one of my favourite boxing gloves and donating them to the charity, so they can auction them and hopefully raise a lot of money for one of the most important causes.”
“This is the first Rockinghorse Ball for two years and it’s really been a fantastic evening. I would personally like to thank everyone who joined us including the wonderful NHS staff who work so hard to support so many children and young people. Our Emerald Ball has raised the most we’ve ever raised for projects at a Ball – and it’s all thanks to our incredibly generous supporters, who understand Rockinghorse Children’s Charity is there for every sick child in Sussex.”
To find out more about Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and how you can help them support these mental health and wellbeing projects children in Sussex, please visit: www.rockinghorse.org.uk.