AFTER two years of dedicated efforts and countless fundraisers by staff and volunteers, Warrington & Halton Hospitals’ Charity has succeeded in raising a phenomenal £100,000 to create a new garden and play area outside the children’s ward of Warrington Hospital as part of its Making Waves project.

That is why they were a standout finalist for the Warrington Guardian's Charity of the Year award.

The play area provides a bright and colourful space to make the hospital experience less daunting for children and visiting families, and is a fantastic companion to the marvellous medical work the ward provides for its young patients.

The theme of the play area carries the existing nautical theme on the ward into the garden with a splash.

A large play pirate ship stands in the centre while the colours of the sea form of an all-weather proof flooring with pictures of sea creatures within it.

There are interactive games and seating areas with something for everyone – bean bag corners for the teenagers, standalone interactive games and wheelchair and bed access to the garden in addition to a lovely sensory garden.

A vital resource for the hospital and for Warrington, the garden opened in July and is expected to help aid the recovery of around 30,000 children each year.

Warrington & Halton Hospitals' Charity were named Charity of the Year at our Inspiration Awards at the Village Hotel on Thursday.

Accepting the award, the team said: "We are absolutely overwhelmed. We have a fabulous team and support from people in the hospital.

"Again, without volunteers and the community we couldn't achieve what we do.

"Hopefully they'll continue to help us with what we have still got planned for the hospital."

Pat McLaren, director of community engagement at Warrington Hospital, added: "We really are so shocked, it is amazing to have won.

"It is a great testament to everyone who puts their hands in their pockets from Warrington and who gave up their time.

"It took a long time to raise the money for the play area as it is a lot of money for a small hospital and we are just so proud of everyone.

"We are so proud of the children's ward who have abseiled down the side of the building, they've roller-skated and baked as well as looking after the children.

"When children are in hospital we try to keep it as normal as possible for them so this play area allows their siblings to come in and play with them as usual.

"Their friends can visit and it allows their parents to get some fresh air.

"It is safe and it is just an amazing facility."