A pioneering medical centre being built at the Royal Preston Hospital for victims of rape and sexual assault is being funded by millionaire Trevor Hemmings, it emerged today.
The centre is the first of its kind in the country and will offer specialist help to rape and sexual assault victims throughout Lancashire.
Building work will begin this month and it is expected to be open by June.
It was revealed today that the cost of building the 300,000 centre will be met by the TJH Foundation, the trust fund charity set up by the Lancashire entrepreneur.
The special unit will be named the SAFE Centre, which stands for Sexual Assault and Forensic Examination.
It will provide support for women, men and children over 12 who have a complaint of rape or sexual assault.
A spokesman for Trevor Hemmings today said it had the full support of the former bricklayer-made-good.
He said: “The TJH Foundation is an independent charity run by a board of trustees.
“We are contacted by a number of charities and we saw the merits of this project and decided to support it.
“The SAFE Centre is a good idea and is locally based in Lancashire, where Trevor Hemmings has a number of companies.
“We are delighted to support this venture and are proud that this new facility will be the first of its kind in the country.”
It is a joint venture between the Royal Preston Hospital, Lancashire Constabulary and major local charity the TJH Foundation.
It is expected to deal with around 300 cases every year and cost 150,000 a year to run.
The centre will provide screening for sexually transmitted diseases, a telephone helpline and support through criminal proceedings to victims from all over Lancashire.