THE HERALD was this week treated to a behind the scenes glimpse of how the new St Wilfrid’s Hospice building is coming along – and the progress of the multimillion pound new build is quite startling.
The charity’s chief executive Kara Bishop led a guided tour of the site on Kings Drive which showed just how quickly the news centre is going up.
It is expected to open by next spring and much of the main structural work is all but completed.
Speaking about the need for expansion, Ms Bishop said, “The simple fact is that today St Wilfrid’s Hospice has 50 per cent fewer hospice beds to support our community than the national average.
“Sadly, as a consequence, 24 people died in 2010 while waiting for admission to our inpatient unit which shows why we need to increase our capacity.
“By 2029 the population numbers aged over 64 are expected to increase by 53 per cent and those over 85 are expected to increase by 77 per cent.
“In order to meet the desperate need for hospice care in our community we are building a new 20-bed hospice.
“ This will mean that we can make an impact on even more lives in the community we serve.
“This build is not just for the short term but should see us through the next two decades.”
Once finished the new hospice will have 20 private bedrooms which each open out onto a garden area and have en suite facilities as well as therapy rooms, day care facilities, office space and a community coffee shop.
And, according to Ms Bishop, the hope is that local people embrace the centre.
“We want people to come in an use the facilities here,” she said. This building has been paid for by local people so we want them to see what their donations have gone to.
“Hopefully people will come and use our coffee shop, groups will use the teaching areas and we can perhaps break down some of the barriers and misconceptions which exist around what hospices are like.”
There will also be a well-being clinic available to both day and outpatients which will include a physiotherapy gym, treatment rooms and even a special high-tech bath for people with mobility problems to come in and use.
Ms Bishop added, “This is an exciting time for us. It still does not seem real that we will be moving into this building when it is finished.
“We are so grateful for the support we have received from the local community.
“This really will help us revolutionise the way end of life care is provided in Eastbourne and the surrounding area.”
Pictured right: Ray Groves, MD of PRG; Nigel Rippon, project manager; Duncan Adams St Wilfrid’s; Kara Bishop, chief executive St Wilfrid’s; and Neil Elphick, hospice trustee.