Hospice building up for sale as charity fundraising continues
- Credit: IAN BURT
A charity which is trying to raise enough money to move to a new £3.5m hospice has put its current premises on the market – and is hoping a benefactor could come forward with an offer.
The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House is currently building its long-awaited new facility near to the A148 at Hillington, which it hopes will be the 'next big step' in addressing a shortage of end-of-life care in west Norfolk.
As a result it needs to sell its current Snettisham base, with chief executive Richard Shaw hoping that money from the sale will help with fundraising.
The building on Old Common Road (West), the site of which has been granted outline planning consent for nine properties, is now on sale for offers in excess of £600,000.
Although the charity raised enough cash to start building the new facility, which will have between six and eight inpatient beds with room for expansion, it was still short of money to pay for items such as high-quality beds, televisions, wi-fi internet access and medical equipment such as hoists.
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The hospice has launched its sponsor-a-brick appeal to help raise some of that money but hopes cash from the sale will also boost its coffers, as the charity will also need to meet the new building's £2.7m per year running costs while only getting 12pc of its funding from the NHS.
Mr Shaw said: 'The money they pay is going to go straight to costs of the new hospice. They can almost see it as a form of philanthropy.
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'Even if they didn't particularly want the site, they could buy it and then resell it. It is in a very beautiful area.'
The Norfolk Hospice has outgrown its Snettisham premises in recent years, with Mr Shaw saying it needs more space for end-of-life care services.
The European Association for Palliative Care has estimated that 30 inpatient beds are needed to cover the 300,000 population of west Norfolk and the Fens, so the new Hillington hospice would help to meet that target.
Mr Shaw has warned that if it did not raise the money needed, losing the new facility would be 'utterly catastrophic for west Norfolk' because a growing elderly population would have nowhere to die in dignity.
'We are the last remaining area without a full-service hospice and we need people to get behind us to give us that final push, so we can get the hospice up and running and provide the area with the service we know it needs,' he said.