Work to build a new community palliative care centre and café at St Catherine’s Hospice is underway. Staff at volunteers at the hospice marked the start of the work with a sod-cutting ceremony.
They joined with representatives from Eric Wright Group, who are in charge of the construction, and architect Alistair Baines, from Cassidy and Ashton, for the event which saw St Catherine’s Hospice medical director Alison Parr cut the first sod to officially mark the start of construction.
Earlier this year the Lostock Hall charity won £520,812 from the Department of Health to convert a disused barn within its grounds into an informal information and therapy centre and café, to be known as Old Lostock Mill Farm, which can be used by the whole community.
The money was awarded according to the specific criteria of the Capital Grant Scheme and could only be used on the project outlined in the application. St Catherine’s Hospice is also investing in the venture, which meets their aim of ‘opening up’ the hospice and its beautiful grounds to the local community.
As well as serving those affected by serious illnesses on an informal basis through ‘drop-in’ therapy and information services and social activities, the welcoming café will be open to everyone from across the area to enjoy. It is hoped this will attract new supporters to help sustain the vital work of the charity.
Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive, said: “We are very excited about this project and its potential for helping people to help themselves.
“By creating a relaxed atmosphere in a desirable location, the centre will help people become more aware of the help available when coping with serious illness, and more able to get the best out of life.
“The grant award can only be used for the construction work. Donations and support for St Catherine’s remain vital, as we work toupport more people in the community. With fundr-aising being extremely difficult at this time, this venture is also about attracting new supporters to help us continue n this harsh economic environment.”
Alison Parr, Medical Director, added: “The centre will be a fantastic new resource for local people that will help patients and their families to cope with and manage the problems caused by progressive illness.
“It will also provide them with an informal but supportive environment where they can maintain a connection with the hospice, whether or not they require active specialist input.”
The new centre is due to be completed by Autumn next year.