A HOSPICE has launched an appeal to raise £1.4million for a major expansion, with space running out as more and more patients need treatment and support.

St Richard’s Hospice's Build2020 appeal asks the community to help raise the final £1.4million needed to create a bigger building at its home in Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

Patients, volunteers and staff cheered yesterday as they dug the first turf at the hospice site to mark the start of the building work.

With a total of £5.3million needed for the expansion and redevelopment plans, the hospice has already got off to a flying start with the windfall of a £2million gift in the will of a supporter along with pledges from trusts and grant making foundations.

Now, backed by the Worcester News, the hospice is urging generous Worcestershire residents to donate to help raise the final £1.4million.

Chief Executive June Patel said: “Currently areas of our hospice building in Worcester are bursting at the seams and we are struggling to respond to the ever-increasing number of patients. 

"We will have to expand and adapt our current space and services so we can better support our current patients and reach the unmet need of thousands of local people in the future.  

"Demand for our care is set to rise sharply with our ageing population and people living longer with multiple illnesses such as heart failure, Parkinson’s, and motor neurone disease as well as cancer.”

She added:“Our vision is for a bigger hospice where we will be able to support people from the point they are diagnosed, improving their quality of life and offering support to their loved ones.

“The bigger hospice, widespread redevelopment of the current building and a focus on more flexible, seven day a week care and support will mean we can reach more people in ways they want, helping them to learn new skills and strategies to manage their illness and increase independence as well as helping them to come to terms with the impact on their lives.”

The redeveloped and extended building will include:

- Larger rooms suitable for exercise based groups, for example adapted Tai Chi and yoga

- Specialist exercise studio with programmes designed by physiotherapists

- A kitchen where occupational therapists will help patients learn how to improve day to day living at home to encourage independence

- Counselling rooms for supporting more patients and loved ones

- Open art studio for patients and loved ones to express feelings through creativity

- Music and horticultural therapy rooms where patients and families can benefit from the therapeutic impact on their health and well being

- Complementary therapy rooms for treatments including reflexology and aromatherapy massage

- A spacious social and eating area will be at the heart of the hospice building offering a comfortable space for patients, families, groups and volunteers to meet and support each other. 

- The reception area will be re-configured to be a light space where visitors will be greeted with a warm and understanding personal welcome.

St Richard’s plans to use the bigger spaces to offer a  wider choice of activities to help people manage their illnesses, such as sessions to cope with breathlessness and fatigue, exercise-based groups and creative and music therapies which can increase confidence and independence, bring relief from symptoms, reduce stress, anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep. 

The charity currently supports more than 3,000 people a year and anticipates that the bigger hospice will enable the hospice team to care and support up to 4,000 individuals by 2021/22.

 All the new and expanded services will run alongside St Richard’s current wide range of patient and family care including support in people’s own homes and 17 in-patient beds.

 Hospice Fundraising Director Tricia Cavell said, “We rely on the generosity of the Worcestershire community and have done through the whole history of St Richard’s. We really appreciate the fact that our community has helped us at every stage of our hospice development.

 “At the moment we have supporters who do lots of amazing things for St Richard’s, for example from holding a coffee morning or jumping out of a plane. And for the Build 2020 appeal we’re asking people to do that one more thing to help us again so that together we can build this wonderful bigger St Richard’s Hospice.”

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. It is an independent charity and relies on donations for three quarters of its annual £8.4m income with the remainder from the NHS. 

How to support the Build 2020 appeal:

- Donate online at strichards.org.uk/build2020

- By post, fill in the donation form and send to St Richard’s Hospice Build 2020 appeal, Fundraising Dept, Wildwood Drive, Worcester, WR5 2QT. (please make cheques payable to St Richard’s Hospice).

- Phone the fundraising team on 01905 763963.

- To hold your own fundraising event to support Build 2020, contact the fundraising team.

Why Ray Mace backs the Build 2020 appeal

Ray, who lives with heart failure and Parkinson’s, said: “When I was told the news about my illness I was particularly miserable and fed up and when somebody suggested coming to St Richard’s I thought, how long have I got then? People saw it as a one-way door in and no one going out. 

"I was going into decline, staying at home, finding it difficult even to watch the television anymore. When kind people came round to see me they asked questions about my illness all the time - how long have they given you? Will you go bald? Coming here was an escape from that. I liken the hospice to a rest place for weary travellers.

"There’s none of us exempt from dying, we know we’ve all got to face it in some way, and what the hospice has given me is the strength to realise it’s still worthwhile trying to enjoy life.

"St Richard’s has also given me time to think: what do I want out of life, what do I want to do and can I do it?  One key thing I have gained from St Richard’s is the realisation that life doesn’t end tomorrow.

"Coming here, talking to people, realising that you’re not alone and that people know what you’re talking about – if St Richard’s can take that to the thousands that are going to need help, it will work even more wonders.”