Member Article

Work begins on £5.7m hospice building

Construction workers were joined by one of the nursing team to officially start work on a new £5.7m facility in County Durham.

Elaine Hansom turned the turf as Galliford Try Partnerships North began construction of the new Willow Burn Hospice building in Lanchester.

Stevie Foster, a Site Manager with Galliford Try Partnerships North, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to deliver this purpose built facility for the community of County Durham. We hope it will improve the experience of patients, their families and the staff during challenging times.”

Galliford Try specialises in the development of affordable housing, health and leisure and community facilities across the region.

Elaine has been part of the clinical team at Willow Burn since 1992, when she worked alongside the founders, Val Davison and Irene Mortimer. She said: “I was a bit surprised when I was asked to be part of the ceremony but it was because this is a nurse-led hospice and I am the longest standing member of the nursing team. I was honoured to accept and commemorate this marvellous occasion. “

Since its inception 24 years ago Willow Burn Hospice on Maiden Law Bank, Lanchester, Co Durham, has been operating from a former isolation hospital ward dating back to the 1950s. Chief executive Helen Mills said: “The existing facility is not in good physical condition and no longer meets operational requirements on many levels. Our vision is to build a world class hospice facility.

The first phase is due to be completed by spring next year. Although the capital required for phase one has been raised, much more fundraising is needed for phases two and three. Phase Two requires an investment of £2.2m which needs to be found before work can begin. The work will eventually see Willow Burn increase the number of in-patient beds from four to six.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Dobbie .

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