Work begins on £1.2m refit of Chorley's Derian House Children's Hospice
Work has begun on a £1.2 million refit of Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.
The charity, which cares for more than 400 children, young people and their families from across the North West, will be installing cutting-edge technology to keep up with the changing needs of its users, as part of the major project.
The “Fit for the Future” scheme will see communal areas opened up to be lighter, brighter and more flexible.
A brand new accessible family cinema will be built, able to cater for people in wheelchairs or medical beds, and will show all the latest blockbusters and even serve hotdogs and popcorn.
The sensory room – a therapeutic space with special lighting and music much-loved by children with limited communication skills - will be made more than three times bigger, and the young adult’s part of the hospice (known as The Lodge) will be given a cool new look.
A brand new Sunflower Suite, specially designed for babies to lay at rest before their funeral, will be created, with an adjoining lounge to allow families to spend as much time as they need to saying goodbye.
David Robinson, chief executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Our Fit for the Future project is all about creating better spaces to meet the ever-changing needs of our children and young people.
“The hospice was built 25 years ago, and at the time was at the forefront of the sector.
“Now, due to advances in medicine and technology, some of our youngsters with complex conditions are able to live longer, which means they can require a higher level of support and care and our building needs to reflect this.
“We’re going to remove corridors and make it much lighter and brighter, much more fun!
“The staff, children and young people are really excited, and so am I.
“It’s going to really put us on the map and be a huge stepping stone in our goal to be the UK’s leading hospice for children. We’ve got everyone involved, and will be asking all the staff and our families what changes they want to see.”
The hospice will stay open during the works, but run at a lower occupancy.
The open space will be split into zones: including special areas for sleep, play, relaxation and reflection.
The project has been partly funded by generous donations from corporate and individual sponsors, and the charity is looking for more companies to sponsor a zone.
Work began this week and will run for a total of 26 weeks, with a grand re-opening planned for September, 2019.
Derian House sensory room, top left and what it will look like after the work
Refurbishment can’t come quickly enough for service user David
One person for whom the refurb cannot come quickly enough is service user David Grundy.
The 24-year-old made it his mission to get his dream kitchen to bake bread in, and even personally issued chief executive David Robinson with his wish list!
David’s suggestions for improvements, which Mr Robinson has kept pinned to a corkboard in his office for inspiration, include: “Doors – too much faffing about to get through” and “Kitchen – bread maker, hand-held blender for soup-making and plates with lips.”
Mr Robinson said: “I made David a promise that we’ll deliver the improvements he’s asked for and I intend to stick to it. I’ve already told him that we’ll strap a GoPro camera onto the builder’s hard hat and film the demolition of the current kitchen and send him the video! And when the new kitchen in The Lodge is finished, we’ll let David cut the ribbon to officially declare it open.”
Val Grundy, David’s mum, said: “David cooks as part of his college course and he loves it. His nickname at home is even ‘Chef Grundy’. For him to be able to get into the kitchen at Derian and be more independent will be brilliant.”
Private movie nights for families
Families who have never been able to visit the cinema together will be able to book their own private movie night, complete with popcorn and hotdogs, following the refurbishment.
The accessible cinema room, which has been donated by Together for Cinema.
The charity was founded in 2009 by Ian Morrish and aims to donate and install 25 cinema rooms in children’s hospices across the UK by 2020 – and Derian is number 22 on its list!
When it’s not showing the latest blockbuster movies, the cinema room can be used by the teenagers and young adults to play video games on a huge screen, or for families to use as a play space.
An interactive work of art will adorn the main wall of the new children’s bedroom corridor, in the Derian House refurbishment.
Local artist Hannah Beech, of Hannah’s Doodles, will create a huge living tree mural covering the 25-metre corridor and spilling onto the floor.
As children and their families stay at Derian, they will create the tree’s leaves using handprints and footprints, in the seasonal colours.
At the end of each season, the mural will be photographed and shared with those who took part, before the paint is wiped away, ready to start a new season.