NEW on-site accommodation where families can stay while their children are in hospital is to be built in Oxford.
Plans for a 62-bedroom facility, run by Ronald McDonald House, were given the go-ahead by the city council on Wednesday, much to the delight of the charity staff and volunteers.
The manager at the current 17-bedroom house at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Michelle Francis, said the new building was going to make a world of difference to the families who needed it.
Ms Francis said: "I've been here nine years and I've been pushing and wishing for this so much. To get this news was so emotional as I know how needed it is.
"We're just so excited. It's really hard to say no we can't accommodate you. And we do that every day."
The four-storey build, which will provide families a place to sleep, eat and wash while still being close to their child, will hold 248 beds in 62 bedrooms, which is one room for every four children in hospital.
Tiffany Verwey and partner Craig Atkins are staying at the existing house while their one-year-old son George is in hospital. He has contracted meningitis and also suffers from Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) - a disease involving inflammation of small blood vessels.
Miss Verwey, 26, who lives in Leighton Buzzard, said: "Having the Ronald McDonald house means my partner and I can take turns for the night shifts. It's hard if you're not sleeping, as all your strength and energy has to go to your children.
"Without this house we would have to travel an hour and a half and back as we can't afford hotels. Little things make a huge difference to families who are on a budget. I think it's an amazing thing, it really is."
It is not yet known when building work will start on the new house, planned for the hospital grounds in Woodland Road, but fundraising will begin immediately to collect the £9 million needed.
Ms Francis added: "The demand is so high. We have to make really difficult decisions every day. We have such a long waiting list, right now we have 12 families on our list, which is about average.
"It's really tough as everyone who requests a room needs one. It really takes a toll on us."
Unlike the current House, the new build will also be able to support families who have babies in the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit.