Building work starts on new £19.5 million hospice between Horsham and Crawley.

Building work has started on a new £19.5 million St Catherine’s hospice between Horsham and Crawley.

The new 24-bed hospice will be larger than the existing one in Crawley and will enable it to provide care for an extra 360 people a year.

Barnes Construction have started work on the foundations and the hospice is planned to open in autumn 2023.

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Since the original building first opened in 1983, St Catherine’s has provided care and support to thousands of local families.

An impresdsion of how the new hospice will look

But expansion was needed and there is no room to at its current 18-bed Crawley site.

St Catherine’s chief executive Giles Tomsett said: “Despite the excellent work of the NHS, too many people have experienced tragic deaths during the pandemic. “People have died alone without family or friends by their side or experienced uncertainty or delay to their treatments.

“Others have felt terrible guilt because they were unable to fulfil a loved one’s last wishes or say goodbye in a meaningful way.

“So many people didn’t have the death they deserved or wanted.

How one of the new hospice's rooms will look

“So many others had to cope with bereavement isolated and alone.”

The hospice still needs to raise £800,000 towards the cost of the £19.5 million new building.

And in an appeal to the local community, Giles added: “With your help, we need to make sure that people in our local community don’t ever have to cope alone again.

“That’s why we’re thrilled to share that work on our new hospice has begun.

“We’re currently setting the foundations ready for our new building’s steel framework to be assembled this summer.

“Following this we hope to have our first rooms complete by around August 2023 and will be welcoming people to our new hospice in autumn next year.”

Hospice officials say that it has all only been made possible thanks to the generosity of local people.

Local landowner Bill Bridges donated land at Pease Pottage in memory of his mother who received hospice care and John Shelmeld left a significant gift to the charity in his will in 2014.

A joint £600,000 donation was also made by development company Thakeham Group and housing provider Abri.

An additional 250 people will receive care as outpatients and 110 extra patients will be cared for on the hospice wards each year.

All rooms in the new hospice will have a private garden and ensuite bathroom; 12 will have adjoining sitting rooms for families to stay overnight; four rooms have been especially designed to meet the needs of people with dementia and all have equipment to help the more disabled.

There will also be family spaces for relatives on each ward to prepare food and relax.

New step-down care will be offered for people coming out of hospital who are not quite ready to return home.

Respite care will be reintroduced on the hospice wards, giving carers a much needed break from caring for someone they love at home.

Enhanced wellbeing groups such as breathe easy clinics, emotional support groups, and physiotherapist led exercise classes will also be available.

In his appeal to the community, Giles added: “Together we have a unique chance to provide better end of life care and to help more families through bereavement.

“With your help we need one final push to finish our new hospice. I hope you will join us.”

To donate towards the new hospice visit: www.stch.org.uk/newhospice or call the St Catherine’s Fundraising Team on 01293 447361.