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How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

We walked into the communal room and the children made a beeline for a playroom and some craft tables. Volunteers from a local company were running a Halloween event for residents to make masks and decorations. One of many opportunities for children to retain some form of normality during their family’s darkest hour.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

What is Ronald McDonald House?

Every parent knows that sinking feeling you get when your child is ill. You see their suffering, but there’s nothing you can do to help them. And so you wait, helpless, for them to get better. That feeling must be multiplied hundreds of times over when your child is in hospital. Perhaps in an unfamiliar city, maybe hundreds of miles from home.

Away from the support of friends and extended family, parents can struggle to cope. The financial pressure is immeasurable. Staying nearby because you have to, because your child needs you. But what about other children, parental relationships and the friendships you need to keep going?

That’s why Ronald McDonald House provides free accommodation and support for the families of children in hospital. A home-from-home environment, where families can stay together. There are 14 of these houses in the UK, and they’ve supported over 60,000 families since 1989. Each accommodates a large number of families a stone’s throw from the hospital.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

The Birmingham house manager explained to me that the houses allow families to relocate together. Instead of one parent staying with the sick child, the whole family can go about their day to day lives at Ronald McDonald House. They pay a £25 deposit, and that’s it. They can stay as long as they need to, as long as their child needs them to be there. The longest staying resident in Birmingham was there for two years.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

A tour of the house

From the moment you walk into Ronald McDonald house, there is a cheerful atmosphere. One that belies the stress its residents are under. Each family is given a bedroom and a shared kitchen, dining room, lounge area and playrooms. Where possible, there is a quiet space where children can do schoolwork and parents can work remotely.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

In the kitchen, every family has their own fridge, freezer and dry food cupboard. They can shop, cook and eat together as they would at home. And yet, they’re where they need to be. Close to the child in hospital who needs them.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together


The biggest hurdle Ronald McDonald House face is lack of understanding. Until you need them, you probably don’t realise they exist. Or if you do, you might think they’re funded by McDonalds, so they don’t need your help.

In fact, that’s not the case. They are the chosen charity for McDonalds, and in 2016 they raised £3 million from collection boxes in McDonalds restaurants. Staff, suppliers and owners of McDonalds restaurants fundraise for them too, but that’s not enough.

It costs £25 per night for a family to stay in a Ronald McDonald House. The charity is always striving to make them better and more homely. They also want to build more, and accommodate more families. Please do head to their website to find out how you can help families who really need it.

How Ronald McDonald House keeps families together

Monday Stumble Linky


  1. October 28, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Absolutely fantastic charity – so worthwhile. Great post highlighting the need for such accommodation. Steph x

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      Thanks for reading Steph, it’s great to be able to raise awareness of such a worthwhile charity.

  2. October 28, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    The Ronald McDonald Houses are so important and valuable to parents of sick children.
    Such a wonderful charity x

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:42 pm

      Thank you for reading Kim, it is an amazing charity.

  3. October 29, 2017 / 10:07 am

    I really didn’t know much about Ronald McDonald Houses and the work they do. They must be such a lifeline to those families in need and more people should know about what a great charity it is! x

    • November 14, 2017 / 11:23 pm

      I totally agree, it must be awful to need them but comforting to have them there when you do.

  4. October 30, 2017 / 10:52 am

    This is such an important post to share. I used to work at McDonalds many, many years ago, so am aware of the work of the Ronald McDonalds Houses, but hadn’t realised how much space families had and how long they could stay there for. I always make sure I put a bit of my change in the box when we go to McDonalds (which is far more frequently than it should be!).

    • November 14, 2017 / 11:22 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I will be making sure I put some change in the box from now on too.

  5. November 1, 2017 / 5:52 am

    It’s a brilliant charity and whilst we all pray we will need never need it. We should support it, as sadly we never know what’s around the corner x

    • November 14, 2017 / 11:08 pm

      Yes you’re right, it scares me just thinking of things like that so it’s important to me to help the charity if I can.

  6. November 2, 2017 / 9:54 am

    It is a fantastic charity for families at their neediest times. We have one very close by, as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has families come in from around the globe. Thank for helping them to raise the awareness. xo #mondaystumble

    • November 14, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      Thank you, it’s wonderful to hear that they are helping in your area too.

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