‘This plan will give people dignity’

Pictured is Peter Hartland,Chief Exec of St Lukes Hospice.
Pictured is Peter Hartland,Chief Exec of St Lukes Hospice.
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THE redevelopment of St Luke’s Hospice would allow families to stay with their loved ones in their final days.

The £5.5 million project to rebuild the hospice on Little Common Lane, Whirlow, would create a suite of large single bedrooms, with enough space for sofa-beds to allow family members to stay.

St Luke’s chief executive Peter Hartland said: “This plan gives people the dignity of a single room when they are at the end of their life journey - but the flexibility of having family there.

“At the moment we have the facilities for a small number of family members to stay elsewhere in the hospice, but this will be much better.”

St Luke’s Hospice was built in 1971, as the very first purpose-built hospice outside London for terminally-ill patients.

Today its team of specialist nurses supports 1,500 people.

Patients are cared for in the 20-bed inpatient unit itself - but also in the hospice day centre, in residential care homes, and in their own homes in every postcode in Sheffield.

Una Moran, director of fundraising and communications at the charity, said: “When we opened 41 years ago the hospice building provided state-of-the-art facilities.

“But four decades later the building is no longer state-of-the-art.

“Sometimes stepping in here feels like stepping onto the set of the TV programme Life on Mars.

“We need our facilities to change to reflect the quality of care that our staff give.

“That’s what redevelopment is about - and to be able to give people privacy to be with their loved ones in the last days is a massive gift.”

Keel Gibson, aged 32, has dedicated his free time to fundraising for St Luke’s since his mother Gloria Drew, a cleaner, died at the hospice in 2009, aged 71.

Keel, a printer and married dad-of-one from Westfield, said: “For the six months my mother was at St Luke’s the staff were absolutely wonderful.

“They couldn’t do enough for her or for my family.

“It’s a great place and this redevelopment is really good news.”

Cheryl Boulding’s husband Dan was diagnosed with stomach cancer last July and died at home aged 33. Cheryl, of Millhouse Green, mum to a young son, said: “The St Luke’s team’s support meant he was able to stay, and be cared for, at home. St Luke’s is still here for me, to give bereavement support.”

And Maria Davis’ dad Peter Egan, 67, of Shiregreen, died at St Luke’s on January 19 after just over four weeks in the St Luke’s inpatient unit.

Maria said: “The care Peter was given was exceptional and we take comfort in the fact he spent his final weeks in such a caring place.”

The rebuild project was awarded planning permission by Sheffield Council last September, and work will start on building an extension to the hospice in June.

Bosses say the hospice will remain open throughout the 15-month project.

The charity’s managers hope to announce in April which contractor will carry out the work, and will unveil their funding plan for the £5.5m project in the next few months.

The cash will have to be raised separately to the charity’s normal fundraising activities - such as The Star-backed Starlight Walk, which takes place in May.

Mr Hartland said: “We get £2m from the NHS each year and we have to raise £4m ourselves each year to keep going.

“The money for the redevelopment is separate to that.

“There’s no point redeveloping the building if we don’t have the money to keep going.”