Staff, patients and supporters announced today (Friday) construction of Southampton’s new children’s emergency and trauma department will begin next week.

The state-of-the-art £5.1 million facility, which is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across the south of England, will include an eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and soundproof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.

To fund the project, Southampton Hospital Charity has partnered with The Murray Parish Trust (TMPT), a charity formed by actress Sarah Parish and her actor husband James Murray in memory of their late daughter Ella-Jayne, to raise £2 million.

This will be matched by the government once the total is met and a further £1.1 million allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

The first phase of the development will see the completion of preparatory works in the shell of the building and the creation of the acute assessment unit which will more than double current capacity.

The announcement was made at an event held by Southampton Hospital Charity and TMPT at The Mayflower Theatre, where both organisations also informed supporters the fundraising total now stands at £1.1 million.

“It is great to reflect on the significance of this important milestone in the appeal and show all supporters that their commitment to the cause has helped to set the wheels in motion on the build,” said Sarah.

James added “We now need to keep motivated and focused as we drive towards raising the final £900,000 and I really hope we can continue to see such passion from people nationwide as we look to meet this target as soon as we can.”

Dr Jason Barling, clinical director of Southampton Children’s Hospital, said: “We are all extremely grateful for the tireless work individuals, families, staff and businesses have put in to raise the money so far.

“It is fantastic to spend some time reflecting on such positive news and I am sure this will give everyone the boost we need for the final push.”

Jeneen Thomsen, head of major gifts at Southampton Hospital Charity, added: “We wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone who has been involved with the project by sharing this exciting news.

“We are so proud and grateful for the support we’ve received for this appeal so far and are looking forward to making the final drive towards our £2 million target.”

For more information on the children’s emergency and trauma department appeal, visit www.southamptonhospitalcharity.org/appeals.