The Northern Ireland Hospice today formally began construction on a new building to meet end of life care needs for the next generation.
The official launch took place at the site of the current hospice at Somerton Road, North Belfast.
The new facility will provide 18 modern single en-suite rooms and a Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy facility, peaceful gardens; a children and relatives area; a sanctuary and Chaplain’s room and space where patients and families can relax together.
Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, Professor Dame Judith Hill, said: “Today we mark an important milestone in the journey to revolutionise hospice care in Northern Ireland as we take our first steps towards realising the dream of a purpose-built adult hospice at Somerton Road.
“This is so much more than a building; the new Northern Ireland Hospice will provide the foundations from which we will build a legacy of hospice care for generations to come.
“We are making preparations for a future that includes caring for wider disease groups beyond cancer to ensure that patients with non-malignant diseases such as respiratory, dementia and neurological conditions receive the specialist care they deserve at the end of their life. This new building, and the research and education that will be conducted here will help us to shape the future of hospice care for the changing needs of our population.”
The total cost of the new hospice is £13m; £2.7m of this will come from Hospice resources leaving a fund-raising goal of £10.3m. Of this, £7.7m has already been raised thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of the many people, government and philanthropic sources.
However the hospice is appealing for help in raising the remaining £2.6m to complete the rebuild.
Professor Hilll added: “Every gift towards the new hospice will make a difference, whether buying a brick, sponsoring a room or getting sponsored to take part in an event.”