St Luke’s Hospice is an institution built on caring.
Every brick in the place is about love and support – it has eased the pain and fear of thousands of terminally ill people and their families.
But yet again, the hospice’s bricks and mortar are causing a wrangle.
Fact is, St Luke’s isn’t in the right place. It’s crammed into a residential cul-de-sac. And it’s too small. As the number of cancer patients increases, and the treatments which lengthen life improve, more beds are needed.
But when the hospice thought it had found the perfect location for a great new building, the Norton Nurseries corner of Graves Park, all hell and a few hundred protesters broke loose.
The objectors had some valid points and when the Liberal Democrats took over, they blocked the move and found a replacement that seemed fine by everyone – the Bluestones School site.
Only by then a lot of the hospice’s money had been wasted. And the recession struck. People couldn’t afford to give as much to charities – and St Luke’s relies totally on donations.
It had no choice but to do what cash-strapped home-owners are doing – improve rather than moving. Have an extension. It’s a compromise.
But they’re trying to wedge a quart into a pint pot in Little Common Lane. The site is way too small. The parking is already ridiculous (how residents manage to be so good-natured about cars cluttering their quiet little close, I don’t know).
It’s never going to be what Sheffield people, at their weakest and most vulnerable, and the fabulous staff and volunteers, deserve.
St Luke’s needs to be bigger and better, but in these times, there’s simply no way.
We’ve all got to accept the compromise.