A CHILDREN's hospice, which supports hundreds of people each year, has launched its plans to create a community group in a bid to raise awareness and fundraise vital funds.

Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People, which cares for some children and young people in Thirsk and North Yorkshire, has urged residents to attend a meeting to gauge interest in the potential plans.

Hospice bosses, who are hoping to set up 'Thirsk Friends' Group', will hold the meeting with residents in Thirsk Town Hall at 7pm on Thursday, September 26.

Emily Sharman, regional fundraiser for Martin House, said the new Thirsk Friends' Group would allow residents to set up fundraising events throughout the year, while supporting the cause.

She said: “Our communities are vital in helping us – we rely on fundraising and donations for nearly 90 per cent of our costs.

"We are asking the people of Thirsk to help us so we can carry on caring for babies, children and young people who desperately need the specialist care we give.”

The hospice said families using the hospice's care and services were not required to pay anything, while it said it cost the charity around £8m each year to operate.

Ms Sharman said: “Our new friends’ group can support us in all kinds of ways, like organising their own fundraising events, holding bucket collections at local venues, selling our Christmas cards, and helping to raise awareness of Martin House.”

The hospice has provided care for people across the county for around three decades, and said it supports more than 420 children and young people each year.

Martin House Hospice Care also provides bereavement support to family and friends who have lost a loved one through terminal illness.

Ms Sharman added: "Those interested in finding out more can come to the meeting, in the upstairs seminar room of the Town Hall, or can contact me on 07748-294613 or via getinvolved@martinhouse.org.uk."