FIRM foundations are being made for the future of end of life care in Northern Ireland as the rebuild of the ground-breaking new NI Hospice enters its fourth month of construction.
Since work began at the end of March this year, building contractor H&J Martin has made significant progress on the rebuild project at Somerton Road in North Belfast.
The old buildings have been completely demolished, with the exception of the iconic façade of the old Somerton House and the exterior walls of the former Alexandra Gardens building, which are being incorporated into the design.
The process of building the substructure and basement of the new building is now being completed, with foundations due to be laid in the coming weeks.
A significant portion of the building project is set to take place over the summer months, paving the way for the external walls to be re-erected in early Autumn.
The new state-of-the-art hospice, which is expected to open in late 2015, has been designed to meet the changing and growing needs for end of life care in Northern Ireland, due to our ageing population.
The building will be the first purpose built dementia friendly hospice in Northern Ireland, addressing the important challenge of providing care for people with complex care needs.
Commenting on the progress of the rebuild project, Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, Professor Dame Judith Hill said;
“For the last 30 years the Northern Ireland Hospice has cared for thousands of terminally ill patients and our current facilities are now outdated and no long fit for purpose.
“This rebuild project has come following years of planning, research and consultations; once completed the new adult Hospice at Somerton Road will enable us to create a legacy of hospice care for generations to come.
“The new building will help us to provide the specialist care people deserve and to prepare for a future that will require more specialised end of life care for wider disease groups beyond cancer, including non-malignant diseases such as respiratory, dementia and neurological conditions.
“This new building, and the research and education that will be conducted here, will help us to shape the future of hospice care for the changing needs of our population.”
William Adams, Project Director from H&J Martin, building contractors for the NI Hospice rebuild added: “H&J Martin is proud to be the appointed Principal contractor on the Northern Ireland Hospice rebuild project. Everyone involved in the rebuild has a strong empathy with Northern Ireland Hospice and the standards of care provided and we are committed to constructing a state of the art facility which will improve palliative care for the whole of Northern Ireland.”
Northern Ireland Hospice still needs to raise £2.6 million to complete the rebuild of the adult hospice at Somerton Road and is calling on the public’s support for their Buy a Brick fundraising campaign. Donors can buy a brick to help rebuild the hospice for £30. Everyone that donates will have their name added to a special Buy a Brick donation book and will be invited to see the new Hospice before it opens.
When completed, the new hospice will provide 18 modern single en-suite rooms, a Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy facility, a Day Hospice, an Outpatient Clinic and an Education and Research centre which will support the advancement of hospice care in Northern Ireland. The plans will also incorporate gardens, a children and relatives area, a sanctuary and a Chaplain’s room where patients and families can relax together.
To find out more about the NI Hospice rebuild project, or to make a donation, visit buyabrick.org.uk or call the fundraising team on 028 9078 1 836.