The Islands Accommodation Unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital has reopened following a £130,000 refurbishment partly funded by donations from Shetland and Orkney.
It has been completely redecorated and what was once an under-used sitting room has been turned into a double bedroom, raising the number of bedrooms to nine.
New furniture has been provided in the bedrooms and communal areas, security has been improved and artwork and photographs produced by fund-raisers now decorate the walls.
A new shower room and toilets with sinks have been introduced, and it is hoped that another shower room will be constructed when more funds are raised.
Sarah-Jane Moore, from Lerwick, who got involved in fund-raising following a 10-day stay at the unit in September 2008 while her son was receiving neonatal care, said: “It’s a complete transformation; the unit is now a real home from home.
“The money we have raised has already paid for everything from new sofas to bedside cabinets. Although the accommodation has had its main revamp, we are still going to continue our fund-raising efforts which will hopefully mean that we can help with the upkeep of the accommodation and also help to do some more renovation work, including another shower room.”
Donations from across Shetland now total more than £15,000.
The maternity hospital’s support manager for obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology, Morag Davidson, said: “We are delighted to have formally reopened the self-catering accommodation. The work we have carried out would not have been possible without very generous donations received from a number of organisations and the hard work of fund-raisers.
“Throughout the refurbishment we have consulted with people who have used the unit, to ensure their needs are met and that the accommodation is truly fit for purpose.”
The unit is for expectant mothers from the Northern Isles and north of Scotland who typically have to travel to Aberdeen two weeks before their due date.
They are able to stay in the unit free of charge, and are often joined by their partners and children as they prepare for the birth of their child. The unit is also used by parents with babies in the neonatal unit.
The cost of the work has been covered by endowment funds and fund-raising. Substantial donations came from the Friends of the Neonatal Unit and WRVS as well as from Orkney and Shetland.