A FORMER Regional Fundraiser for the now closed Children’s Hospice in Fermanagh says the community deserves a proper explanation for its untimely demise.
Just six years after it officially opened in a blaze of publicity, the Impartial Reporter revealed last week that the Horizon West facility for sick children has closed its doors.
“We sold our souls to get that place up and running,” said Emma Moore, “And now it is gone.”
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice told the Impartial Reporter this week that the facility at Killadeas is now formally deregistered as a healthcare facility with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority. 
“Suitable tenant arrangements will continue to be explored,” they said.
“The majority of equipment will be transferred for use at our Children’s Hospice in Newtownabbey (Horizon House), Co Antrim, where families from across Northern Ireland can avail of specialist short breaks.”
Asked what was happening to staff who had been working at the facility up until its closure the spokesperson said: “Northern Ireland Hospice does not comment on staff contracts.”
Now living in Australia, former regional fundraiser, Emma Moore came on board the Horizon West project in 2006.
However, many of the Fermanagh Support Group volunteers had been raising money long before then, some for as long as 14 years before it closed.
“I am only one of many voices who will be absolutely fuming that this has happened,” Emma told the Impartial Reporter this week, “The entire community got behind this project.”
According to Emma, although she and the fundraising team worked hard to raise the profile of the project, the generosity of people in the community meant that encouraging support for the Children’s Hospice was never a hard sell.
“People really embraced the idea of the project,” she said, “They wanted to help sick children in the area.
“So it was never difficult to get people on board with fundraising efforts. In saying that though, there was a lot of nurturing and care on our part too.
“The families were so desperate for the services to be closer to home. For some, the two-and-a-half hour journey up the road was just nigh on impossible because of the complexities of their child’s condition.
“So everyone got on board to raise the profile: the fundraisers, the community, the families and we were well-supported by the papers too.
“When I think now of all the local businesses who sponsored and held their own events, year after year giving so generously. It is just hard to believe.”
Emma says she is devastated for the families and the fundraising team, in equal measure.
“The families waited so long for that place.
“Our support group were a group of people who had all been touched by tragedy in some way at some point in their lives.
“They went head long with gusto into raising money for the hospice. They were the most outstanding group of volunteers I have ever worked with, because they were so passionate about it. I always tipped my hat off to them.
“It is so sad to think that group is now disbanding.”
A part of the project at a time when it was being built from scratch, Emma says she finds it hard to accept that the equipment, “paid for by local people and bought for the local community” is now being moved to Belfast.
“That in itself is unfair,” she said, “I just feel devastated for the families.”
“I do think there needs to be more of an explanation provided to the community as to what has happened here - an explanation to those who gave years and years of service to fundraising for the project and to the families who waited for so long for it.
“Why, after all that hard work, has it just closed its doors?”