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Keep up to date with the latest information from Ronald McDonald House South Island

This information is current as of 23 March 2020.

The health and safety of the families who stay with us, volunteers, and all those working in this space is paramount to us as an organisation and we are working hard to prevent the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As a result, we are taking our lead from the Ministry of Health, Canterbury District Health Board, hospital partners, and Ronald McDonald House Charities during this time. Below are some FAQs, which we will update regularly as the situation progresses.


Are your programmes still operating?

Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch is currently running and we are still providing accommodation and meals for families who have a child undergoing medical treatment.

However, the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre at Christchurch Hospital will be temporarily closed to families for approximately 21 days from Friday 20th March, or until we receive further advice from the Canterbury District Health Board.

The Family Room space is being used as a respite area for health professionals at the Hospital, and we are very happy that we are able to help out in this way.

Likewise, under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, Southern District Health Board, hospital partners and Ronald McDonald House Charities, we have made the decision to temporarily pause the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Southland Hospital from Saturday, 21 March for approximately 21 days, or for long as we are instructed by the parties mentioned above.

The Family Room at Southland Hospital will be used as a respite area for the health professionals who are working so very hard for our communities, we are so very pleased that we can offer our help and support in this way.

Families who were staying in the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Southland Hospital have been provided with alternative accommodation.


Are you turning any families away?

No, at this stage we are not turning families away. We are committed to ensuring that any eligible family who requires accommodation close to the hospital is welcomed.  A thorough screening programme is in place to ensure the wellbeing of all families, our team and volunteers.

However, until further notice, only one support person in addition to the primary caregiver of the patient is permitted to stay in the House in Christchurch.

We ask that families make arrangements to meet all other visitors’ offsite.


What are you doing to protect families?

All entrances to the House have been closed off to visitors. Only families staying at the House and team members have direct access to our facilities.

Non-essential volunteers, visitors and activities have been paused until further notice.

All persons who require access to the House must go through a stringent screening and sanitisation process before entering.

Additional sanitisation in communal areas is being undertaken by the team as per Ministry of Health recommendations.

Physical distancing measures have been put in place.


What happens if someone in the House tests positive for Covid-19?

If a person staying at the House is diagnosed with Covid-19, they will not be able to remain at the House.  Our facility is not equipped to support the self-isolation that these situations require.  We are also not in the position to provide the House as a quarantine space.

We have protocols in place to act swiftly and with compassion to utilise the services of our partner hospital and Public Health to ascertain how the family will be supported and transported home or to a suitable isolation facility, or if need be, hospital.

Further, we will also work closely with Public Health on the necessary steps to follow for isolating known contacts, traceability of people in our House, evacuation the House if necessary and other measures.


Is the Family Dinner Programme still running?

As of Friday, 20 March, we have paused volunteer groups preparing the Family Dinner Programme until further notice. We have arranged as an alternative a Chef to cook dinner for the families to ensure all under our roof continue to receive nutritious home-made meals.

You can help us in this by donating funds towards the purchase of meals here

Grocery vouchers are very useful as it means we can purchase items depending on the changing needs of those staying at the House. Please send vouchers to Ronald McDonald House South Island, PO Box 1463, Christchurch 8140

Alternatively, if you would like to donate frozen meals, baking, or other food supplies, please get in contact with House Manager Heather Bakkenes at who will be able to provide an update of what families need.

We will be reviewing this situation on a weekly basis and will keep you up to date as to when the Family Dinner Programme will resume as normal.


Are your events and fundraisers still going ahead?

All large group fundraisers run by Ronald McDonald House South Island in March through to July have been postponed or cancelled. This includes Invercargill Supper Club (27 March) and Christchurch Supper Club (19 June).


The M Factor Fashion Show (2 April) and Your Life, Live It seminar with Amanda Foo-Ryland, run in conjunction with the Southland Chamber of Commerce (3 April) have both been postponed.

As soon as new dates have been announced, we will share them on social media and on our website.

We will make an announcement about future fundraising events (May – July) in the next week as we monitor the situation and implement the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.

Other events operated by supporters that benefit Ronald McDonald House South Island will likely be impacted too but this will be decided by the organisers.


What’s the best way to support House families?

Given the impact to our fundraising through cancelled events and campaigns, we are facing a significant reduction in donations, which has the potential to impact our ability to support all families.

If you are able to support families currently staying in our facilities, please consider a cash donation at This will allow us to continue our operations, including providing accommodation and meals to families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch and the Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital when it re-opens.





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