Building work on the new St Wilfrid’s Hospice is complete and the team is getting ready to unpack and move over patients in the coming months.
This week, the Herald had a tour around the new state-of-the-art hospice which has been built off Broadwater Way, between Sainsbury’s and the David Lloyd Club.
Kara Bishop, chief executive of the hospice, said, “Getting the keys was very exciting, very emotional and moving because we have spent so many years working towards this goal.”
Kara is understandably delighted with the finished result.
The open plan entrance, labelled as a ‘building without barriers’ by the hospice staff and project managers forms The Street, which will be home to a cafe and meeting place. Off The Street is the Wellbeing Centre which has a hairdressers, specialised gym and jacuzzi bath – all facilities to help those living with serious and life-limiting illnesses.
Kara said, “The Street and the Wellbeing Centre will bring a sense of normality. A place where people can go to the cafe, chat with others and get their hair done.”
There is a balcony looking over The Street, where the St Wilfrid’s staff offices will be situated, and it is hoped performances in aid of St Wilfrid’s will be able to be enjoyed from the open plan area which has been constructed to have appropriate acoustics.
There are 20 in-patient rooms in the new hospice – double the capacity of the current site in Mill Gap Road. All the rooms have large doors opening on to the tranquil gardens which are at the centre of the site. On a fine day, the beds can be wheeled out to the gardens. There is also a family room called the Orchard Lounge, a self-contained unit which includes a kitchenette and en-suite bathroom for family who may need to stay at the hospice with a loved-one who may be in their final days.
The cost of the land, building, furnishing and equipping of the hospice comes in at £11.5 million and could not have been achieved without the town’s kind-hearted fundraisers.
Kara said, “It is a huge sum of money but we think it is tremendous value for money. We will be offering tours and we are sure that when people come and see inside they will agree.
“This hospice has been built by the community for the community.
“This community is a wonderful place, where else would you find such a level of generosity. I think it says that this is a great place to live. It is a place of peace.”
Despite the recent celebrations, money is still needed to help furnish 10 of the rooms.
St Wilfrid’s will be running public tours from August 30 to October 6 six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday.
Book a tour of the new hospice online at www.stwhospice.org or call hospice tours administrator, Jenny Castle, on 0845 8946300.
Photos by Annette Perry.