A CHARITY launched a campaign on Monday to raise £3 million to help build a new hospice which provides specialist care to children, young people and adults.
NI Hospice has cared for thousands of people and their families in the old Victorian building on Somerton Road for the past three decades.
But the north Belfast building is no longer fit for purpose and urgently needs replaced.
The ‘Buy a Brick – and help rebuild our hospice’ appeal encourages people to fundraise the minimum of £30 to purchase a brick. NI Hospice need to sell 100,000 bricks to meet their target.
The full cost of the redevelopment scheme to deliver the new facilities on the Somerton site is £11 million. This will provide 18 much needed specialist palliative care beds and enhanced education and research facilities.
Millions of pounds will be secured from a number of sources – but the charity needs the public’s help to raise an outstanding £3 million.
The ambitious fundraising plan will be launched at the charity’s shop in Andersonstown, west Belfast later by the family of Bronagh Wilson, who was cared for by NI Hospice staff in the months before she died from a brain tumour.
The young woman was diagnosed with the life threatening tumour following a fall while pregnant with her second child.
Her partner, Conor McConville, and her family set up a trust to fundraise for vital treatment needed overseas.
“This time four years ago our lives were shattered by the news that Bronagh had a brain tumour. The Trust was set up to help us get treatment for Bronagh abroad,” he said.
“The response from the public was overwhelming and raised £100,000. Bronagh passed away in July 2012.
“Today marks the beginning of a lasting legacy in her name and I am delighted to present a cheque of £20,000 to help build a new hospice at Somerton Road,” he added.
“The care Bronagh received at home from the Hospice nurses was more than I ever anticipated. We received that care thanks to the generosity of people who give so generously to Hospice and now it’s time for us to help those who may need it in the future.”
Siofra Healy, Director of Fundraising, said: “We need to raise £3 million from public donations and hope that our ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign captures the hearts and minds of the public to help meet this target.
“If 100,000 people each buy a brick at a minimum of £30 we will meet our target. Everyone who donates to buying a brick will have their name added to our special Buy a Brick donation book and will be invited to see the new Hospice before opening.”