A CHILDREN'S hospice in the North-East is celebrating a funding boost which will help transform the lives of teenagers.

Butterwick House Children's Hospice at Stockton has been awarded a £77,610 grant from Children in Need which will go towards providing care at a new extension.

The hospice, which serves children, young people and their families from Teesside, County Durham, North Yorkshire and Wearside, is building a Transition Unit.

The unit has been entirely funded by a grant from the Department of Health and will provide accommodation and facilities for young people between the ages of 13 and 25.

The Children in Need funding, confirmed today, will help fund the additional costs for the hospice to put in place a special package of age appropriate care that will work solely towards giving life limited teenagers more freedom of choice.

Butterwick Chief Executive, Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, said: "The construction of our new Transition Unit will be completed by April 2014, and will offer a tailored package of age appropriate care to young people aged 13-25 years old, who currently receive patchy services at best, that are often not suited to their level of emotional development, maturity and clinical need.

"This new Independent Life Skills project will be focused upon the needs of our 13 to 17-year-old patients, who we will be working with to develop their independence and confidence, to enable them to achieve their individual full potential, whatever that may be."

The Children in Need money will enable the hospice to operate a weekend respite service for teenage patients, which will allow them to start to develop their own independence through learning new skills.

These will include budgeting and shopping, learning to prepare light meals and snacks, trip and entertainment planning, and themed games nights or challenges.

It will also allow them to become more involved in the decisions about their condition management, respite services, personal budgets and longer term educational and work options.

Mr Leggatt-Chidgey added: "Our young people are really excited about the new unit opening, particularly the teenagers who find the surroundings a little too 'babyish' at times. They have told us the sort of things which they would like to see in a teenage hospice and we have reflected this in our planning.

"We are delighted to have been given this financial endorsement by Children in Need who have recognised the importance of this service."