Charlie House was established to help make life better for babies, children and young people who have life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, and to support their parents, brothers and sisters, and all those who love them.
We started in 2011 and, through the generosity of others, we have been able to develop and grow our projects to support these wonderful children. With continued support we hope to be there when families need us most.
The charity was founded by local mum, Tracy Johnstone. Tracy and her husband Craig live in Aberdeen and in 2008 were expecting twins to join older son Ellis, an infection caused Tracy to go into labour prematurely and the twins were delivered at 24 weeks. The family unfortunately only had 1 day with their daughter Eva, she was too sick and passed away the day following the twins’ birth. Louis, however, battled on through many operations and procedures and spent the majority of his first year in hospital, it was an extremely stressful time juggling family life with hospital life, trying to have quality time with Ellis and make sure that Louis was cared for too.
As Louis developed, it became apparent that he would have severe disabilities and multiple complex needs, he would need 24 hour care, 7 days a week and potentially would not live to adulthood. The family tried everywhere locally to get support but there was none; Louis was too complex for most of the local support networks. Eventually, The Johnstone family had to travel over 100 miles to the nearest support facility.
Tracy & Craig couldn’t understand why there was no support facility or network in the North-east and set out determined to make a difference by starting their own charity. Tracy got together with other families in the same position and started meeting regularly to develop the ideas for the charity.
Why Charlie House?
The aim of the charity was going to be to provide support to babies, children and young people that have life-limiting conditions and their families. But before the charity could be launched to the public it needed a name.
The group of parents got together and brainstormed, they generated a word wall based on the values, feelings, needs, and experience that the families should have when they were supported by the charity. Key themes developed and the words that would help to define the charity name became much clearer….
Children, caring, happy, Aberdeen, relaxation, rest, resources, listening, living, inclusive, inspiring, information, everyone, experiences… CHARLIE
However, the group felt that they couldn’t just call the charity “Charlie”, the second part of the charity’s name became their ultimate goal, one that they would aspire, strive and hope to give to these fabulous children and their families in the future… a place. A place where all of the children that need support could enjoy family time together, without all the tensions of medical intervention, where they could have fun and laughter together, and where they could be mum, dad, brother and sister instead of nurse, carer or physiotherapist. A place for family – a house.
And so Charlie House was born, and we started on our journey to support babies, children and young people across the North-east of Scotland, we have started small but have grown and will work very hard to deliver on our dreams.