Established in 1990 to support families across Greater Manchester

Our History

1990
1990

1990 / 91

Sister Aloysius Archbishop and Princess Diana
Rainbow Family Trust set up as a charity by Sister Aloysius and Father Thomas Mulheran who were concerned about the lack of palliative care for the families of children with a short life expectancy.  With Sister’s vision, determination and drive in less than two years the seven bedroom Francis House was opened in November 1991 by Diana, Princess of Wales. Only the fifth children’s hospice to be built in the UK and the World.  
2000
2000

1990’s & 2000’s

Bernie Care Team
Thousands of children and their families come through the doors of Francis House for support, friendship, fun and a place to recharge their batteries. Children sleep in one of seven colourful bedrooms and there are flats for their parents to have a well-earned rest and time together. Siblings can also stay with their brother and sister enabling them to spend valuable time together.  
2005
2005

2005

Groupshot of Sister Aloysius retirement
Sister Aloysius retires, however her compassion for the children and their families who will suffer the loss of their child remains. She continues as a member of the Council of Management for many years. Revd David Ireland becomes Chief Executive. As architect for the Rainbow Family Trust, he oversaw the conversion of a former convent into Francis House Children’s Hospice in 1990.  
2006
2006

2006

Kirsty Howard and Mr Al Fayed
Kirsty Howard one of the best known faces of Francis House, born with an exceptionally rare condition with her heart back to front, raises £5 million to secure the future of Francis House.  
2009
2009

2009

Margaret Hickie
Emotional support service starts providing support to young people with life-limiting conditions who due to medical advances are living longer. The service offers them the opportunity to talk about their feelings, fears and share their thoughts with a trained member of the care team. Margaret Hickie announces her retirement as the Head of Care.  
2010
2010

2010

Plans for temporary unit
A temporary four bed house close to Francis House opened following a request to the board of trustees by Stephen Ryan, born with a muscle wasting condition asking to be cared for in a more adult environment. The house for teenagers and young adults was the forerunner for a £3.5 million building extension to meet the growing need for respite care for older users. January 1st Gill Bevin becomes the Registered Manager.  
2012
2012

2012

2012 Sir Alex Ferguson lays cornerstone with Nathan
Sister Aloysius the founder of Francis House dies in August aged 85 years. Construction work on the seven bedroom extension begins. The first of five cornerstones are laid by Sir Alex Ferguson and Nathan Sturgeon. Celebrating five years of partnership with Manchester United. The Rainbow Family Trust changes its name to Francis House Family Trust.                  
2014
2014

2014

Francis Lodge Opening Group Cheer
Francis Lodge opened to provide a parent-free zone of seven further bedrooms to meet the growing demand for care for teenagers and young adults who are over 13 years of age. Supporters including Mr Mohamed Al Fayed, staff, young people and families celebrate a new era in the life of the hospice.
2015
2015

2015

Creative therapy
Families enjoy respite at Francis House and Francis Lodge. Up to seven sick children and seven young adults can stay at any one time. Facilities include a music and cinema room, multisensory, games and computer rooms and large lounge overlooking the garden.
2016
2016

2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Francis House
Francis House celebrates 25 years of providing care and support to families across Greater Manchester.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened Francis Lodge, 25 years to the month since Princess Diana opened Francis House. 463 Parrs Wood Road, operated by Francis House Families Limited, opens providing a place of permanent residence for young people with life-limiting conditions.
2018
2018

2018

463 staff and young resident
Francis House supports more than 500 families with respite care, end of life care and emotional and bereavement support. 463 a seven bed ‘home for life’ facility is fully occupied and financially self-supporting.