Plans for �4m Gorleston hospice lodged

PLANS to build a �4m hospice in Gorleston have been lodged, paving the way for better end of life care on the east coast.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney is one of just two areas in the country without hospice beds.

And when cash to build the 10-bedroom East Coast Hospice is found, it will stand in five acres of landscaped grounds offering a tranquil retreat for people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Each of the 10 bedrooms would have a private garden and foldout beds for loved ones to stay and share precious final time together.

Day care and respite support for carers is also planned in the state of the art building, which award-winning architect Henry Kelf hopes to be: “more like a hotel or country house than a medical institution”.

David Nettleship, chairman of the trustees, said the independent charitable hospice – to be built on rural land off the A12 adjacent to Beacon Park, Gorleston - is a response to the desperate need to widen the choice in end of life care for both communities.

“There are too many gaps,” he said. “The choice people have now is to die at home or in hospital.

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“Many people would choose to die at home and would never need a hospice but, for some, a hospice would be their choice and it will be there if people need it - if it gets too much to bear at home.”

A specialist eight to 10 bed unit was a recommendation for the area in Marie Curie’s Delivering Choice report.

And the challenge the region faces is raising the �4m to build the hospice and to find a way of meeting the �1.8m a year running costs.

“It is difficult to get across to people how different a hospice is to other health care establishments,” said Mr Nettleship. “This hospice is based on need. The urban areas of Great Yarmouth and Waveney are areas of deprivation which means the need for a hospice is greater.”

Hospice facilities will include a day care area, quiet rooms, a hairdressing room, lounges, a garden room, a domestic kitchen to show people techniques to make life at home easier, a sanctuary for quiet contemplation and assisted spa baths.

As well as conventional medicine and care, the hospice would provide a full range of alternative therapies.

The red brick hospice with cedar cladding, topped with a curved dark grey zinc roof, would also provide respite care and a 24-hour helpline.

Full plans have been submitted to planners at Great Yarmouth Borough Council and trustees hope to have planning permission by May.

Trustees hope the detailed plans will encourage people to fundraise and donate to to the hospice.

To raise the money, the trustees are investigating different funding streams as well as fund raising and the revenue from the charity’s five shops in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Lowestoft and Bungay.

To help the East Coast Hospice, call Corinne at the charity’s office on 01493 718707 or email office@eastcosthospice.co.uk