The fundraising efforts of thousands of local people will soon pay dividends as building work is set to start on the Palliative Care East-funded information and support centre and outreach service at the James Paget University Hospital.
Tenders for the building work closed last week, a main contractor will soon be appointed, and construction work on the £1.5 million centre will get underway during March.
The Palliative Care East (PCE) appeal was launched in 2006 and the latest round of local fundraising has brought the total to within just £100,000 of its £1.5 million target.
The new information and supportive care centre at the James Paget University Hospital is expected to open by Christmas 2012. It is estimated 10,000 people a year will use the centre.
Peter Franzen, interim chairman of the James Paget University Hospital, said: “The local community has played such a big part in making the appeal a success. The fact that work will soon start on the new information centre at the James Paget is a real testament to the generosity of people across Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
“We are indebted to all our donors and the new service will play an important role in many people’s lives over the years to come. We are looking forward to working with all our partners to help provide a wide range of information and support services in a centre that will be fit for the 21st century.”
Back in 1998 Roberta Lovick, of Potter Heigham, lost her 28-year-old daughter Louise to breast cancer and was inspired to start raising money for a supportive care centre for people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
In 2000 she launched the Louise Hamilton Cancer Help Centre Trust, working with Dr Patrick Blossfeldt at the James Paget, with the goal of improving care and treatment of patients, their carers and families whose lives are affected by incurable diseases.
Roberta saw the latest plans for the new centre last week and said: “It was just so emotional seeing the designs and realising it’s going to happen. It’s been needed for so long and I’d like to thank people from the bottom of my heart for donating and helping make it happen.”
The new centre is being designed by Norwich-based LSI Architects who have designed the central space as a dramatic curving shape resembling a boat - a reminder of the scheme's seaside context and of the notion of an 'ark' as a place of refuge.
Flowing from the social space is a concealed private garden. Extensive glazing to the central area enables the inside and outside spaces to connect with one other. The scheme also incorporates a green roof with hot water heating provided by solar hot water panels.
Dr Jane Scott, Macmillan lead GP for NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “It is vital that people who are living with cancer and other diseases are given access to information and supportive care that helps them live their lives as fully as possible. The centre will be a vital hub for patients and their families and will also support a range of services in the community as well”.
The resource centre and outreach service is a partnership between NHS Norfolk and Waveney, local county councils and the voluntary sector; including funds from the Palliative Care East appeal. The new centre and outreach service will be based at the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston and will bring together a wide range of organisations that can help support patients who are living with a life-limiting illness and also help their loved ones.
The service will offer patients and carers a one-stop-shop service for information and supportive services. The centre will not have beds but will offer a “home from home” environment offering; access to specialist palliative care support and advice, counselling, bereavement services, complementary therapies, welfare advice, and information about life-limiting illnesses.
· Palliative Care East
· James Paget University Hospital
· NHS Norfolk and Waveney
· Great Yarmouth and Waveney SPC Team
· St Elizabeth Hospice
· Big C
· Macmillan Cancer Support
· Cruse Bereavement Care
· Marie Curie Cancer Care
· Crossroads Care
· Norfolk County Council
· Suffolk County Council