Building work to start on �1.5m Palliative Care East centre

FAMILIES and friends who know the anguish of terminal illness have spent more than half a decade fundraising for a �1.5m day care centre for their loved ones.

And now Palliative Care East’s dream of a dedicated support centre in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital is on the verge of becoming a reality.

The campaign has raised more than �1.35m to date, so the project has been put out to tender and building work is due to begin next month.

A building partner is expected to be announced by the end of this month.

While fundraisers say they must continue their efforts for the final �150,000 push, they are delighted at the rate of progress. Jenny Watson, appeal co-ordinator, said: “It’s such an exciting time for all involved and thanks to their hard work and commitment they can now begin to see the fruits of their labour.

“For patients and families it’s starting to become a reality and this will make a huge difference to them It will be somewhere they can come that will be calm, away from a busy hospital. They will have time and space.”

The Palliative Care East Appeal was launched in October 2006 with the vision of providing better support and information to people whose lives are affected by cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

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More than �1m had been raised by February 2010, and final plans for a state-of-the-art care centre were submitted in October last year.

Borough councillors approved the plans last November, and now the project is out to tender.

“We need to keep the fundraising going right to the end of the build,” added Mrs Watson. “We’re planning some more big fundraising events.”

The 525sqm building follows Macmillan Quality Environment Mark standards and will provide advice and clinical support for patients and relatives.

There will be a meet and greet atmosphere at the entrance instead of a formal reception. An inner garden is designed to be enjoyed rather than act as a show garden, and it is hoped it will become a wildlife haven overnight.

The building’s interior layout will consist of a main lounge, seating, a children’s play area and both counselling and multi-function rooms for therapy. The counselling rooms will offer privacy with screened doors.

For details about the project, call Jenny Watson on 01493 453348