As plans for a children's hospice and respite centre are prepared, DAVID HIMELFIELD reports in the first of a series on the work of the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust
HERE is the first artist's impression of how a new children's respite centre and hospice might look in Huddersfield.
Organisers at West Yorkshire's Forget Me Not Trust are hoping it will rise from the ground in Fell Greave Road, Brackenhall.
Now they are calling for YOUR support in making sure the dream comes true.
The plea has gone out for letters of support to be sent to the trust.
After nine years of hard work and generous donations from individuals and businesses, the trust will submit plans for the centre to Kirklees Council on December 1.
The trust, founded in 1997, hopes planning permission will be approved for a dedicated facility for youngsters up to the aged of 18 from Kirklees and Calderdale with life-threatening and terminal illnesses.
Currently the nearest hospices are in Francis House, Manchester and Martin House, Wetherby.
The Forget Me Not Trust says they have identified at least 280 families alone that could benefit from a closer centre.
The hospice will provide accommodation and a high level care for seven patients and their friends and families. The centre, which will also operate a day centre, will be open all day throughout the year.
The building, set in woodland, will house 40 staff from cleaners and cooks to healthcare professionals and counsellors.
At most, the facility could cost up to £3m to build and £1.5m to sustain each year.
Government support for children's hospices is a paltry 4% per annum, compared with a minimum of 18% for adult facilities, with some adult hospices receiving up to 40%.
In preparation Forget Me Not Trust has taken on, in addition to one full-time fundraiser, two part-time community fundraisers to garner funds and volunteers.
Fundraising manager Mandy Barwick said: "It's about giving mums and dads a night's sleep, because families sometimes don't get that chance.
"Parents can be 24/7 carers. It's also a chance for families to realise they're not alone. They can share their concerns and experiences with other families.
"Should a family in the area need such an essential service they would need to travel up to 40 miles to the nearest children's hospice.
"Or they may simply struggle at home without it.
"We want people to put their mouths where their money is. We want people to write to Forget Me Not saying how it's needed and not just the public, but healthcare professionals.
"We need people to let us have their opinion. They may have a misconception of what Forget Me Not is and we want to dispel their fears. We can get a flavour for people's concerns and feelings and address them."
Mandy added: "The aim is to have a positive impact on the surrounding trees and wildlife. We hope to enhance the site if anything. We want to build something that will blend in and be appealing to the eyes.
"The area earmarked is urban green space so we need to demonstrate the community benefit.
"The facility will create employment, provide specialist healthcare, fufill a missing service and improve the area."
Send letters to: Mandy Barwick, Forget Me Not Trust, Heritage Exchange, Wellington Mills, Plover Road, Lindley, Huddersfield HD3 3HR.