YOU’VE paid for it – now come and have a look.
That’s the message from the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice as the dream of opening a centre in Huddersfield comes close to reality.
Much of the inside of the building in Brackenhall is complete, staff have moved in and the hospice should open to patients in the new year.
Supporters have been invited to a family fun day at the centre on Fell Greave Road this weekend to celebrate the achievement.
The event – which includes guided tours, face painting and cake stalls – runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.
Hospice chief executive Peter Branson wants to thank all those who helped fund the building.
“We’re holding a series of open days to invite all the people who have supported us
“To get to this stage is a huge achievement and we’re immensely grateful for all the support to get the building built.
“It’s also really important to get across the message of what a children’s hospice is all about.
“When people hear the word ‘hospice’ they think it’s about dying, but a children’s hospice is more about living.
“It’s about making the most of a child’s life rather than focusing on the sad fact that they will die young.
“A children’s hospice is actually a place that’s filled with a great deal of noise and laughter and children having fun.”
But Mr Branson warned yesterday that the fundraising task was about to get much harder.
“Our running costs at the moment are about £1.5m a year but they will rise to £2.5m within the next 18 months,” he told the Examiner.
“The hard work really begins now.”
The hospice plans to open to families over the next few months.
Mr Branson said: “We’ve already had some sibling days, where brothers and sisters of children with life-limiting conditions can come and use parts of the building.
“In the new year we hope to offer day care for two or three hours at a time. There will be musical therapy and art activities.
“Throughout next year we will open some of the accommodation for respite care, which will allow children to come for a week at a time to give them and their families a break.”
There are four en-suite bedrooms, three of which can be booked in advance while the other is for emergency use.
The bedrooms will be fitted out before each child arrives – for instance, with posters of their favourite pop star or footballer – to make them feel at home.
The hospice also includes an end-of-life suite, where a child’s body can be kept for up to two weeks before burial.
However, some areas of the hospice are not yet complete.
Mr Branson said: “There’s still a great deal of specialist equipment which we need and there’s a huge void in the top floor where we hope to have some family bedrooms.”
The charity also needs cash to set up a counselling room for relatives.
For more information about the charity call 01484 411040 or email email@example.com.