THE progress is clear to see – and building work at Sheffield’s St Luke’s Hospice is now guaranteed to continue on course after the charity was awarded a huge grant of more than £850,000.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday took a tour of the site in Whirlow, viewing developments so far on a new £5 million inpatient unit, while announcing the big donation from a Government funding pot.
The Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam spoke to staff and patients, as well as looking at the hospice’s freshly-installed hotel-style bedrooms, saying he was ‘delighted’ with what he saw.
He said: “This is a very significant amount of money, the second largest out of all the hospices that are receiving awards across the country.
“It will have a transforming effect on care for St Luke’s. As MP for the hospice’s constituency I was very supportive of St Luke’s bid. Funding for hospice care has always been a mix of money from the NHS, from fundraising and from local councils.
“St Luke’s has demonstrated real effort in reaching out to the local community, who have been so generous year in, year out.
“It would be nice to say ‘Give them all of the money, all of the time’, but there isn’t any money left, for the reasons we all know about. It’s not quite as simple as that.”
The money is earmarked for the hospice’s Room To Care appeal, in aid of the new unit. About £2.9m has already been raised ahead of the Government donation, with The Star’s Great Pie and Peas Up campaign – which saw scores of charity dinners held across Sheffield last month – expected to bring in tens of thousands.
The Star has pledged to raise £100,000 to pay for a new bedroom.
Patient Stephen Hinchliffe, aged 59, and his wife Janice, also 59, from Mosborough, Sheffield, met Mr Clegg and spoke to him about the redevelopment work, which will provide patients with 14 en-suite rooms as well as other improved facilities.
Mr Hinchliffe said: “It’s going to be excellent, it will be really good for patients.”Mrs Hinchliffe said: “It will give people more privacy, which for families is very important.”
Alex Pettifer, charity chairman, told Mr Clegg Sheffield has ‘now got the hospice it deserves’.
St Luke’s has received an £865,906 share of a £60m government fund, which is being divided between 176 hospices across England. Elsewhere Barnsley Hospice is being given £469,779, Rotherham Hospice will get £229,999 and St John’s Hospice in Doncaster will receive £452,374.