Hospice dream is a step closer

As she gazes at the plans for a £3m hospice for Yarmouth and Waveney, Jennifer Beesley dreams of the day when the centre will open thanks to the support of the local population.

As she gazes at the plans for a £3m hospice for Yarmouth and Waveney, Jennifer Beesley dreams of the day when the centre will open thanks to the support of the local population.

It is hoped that the architectural drawings for the Yare Hospice unveiled yesterday will ratchet up the growing campaign to set up a specialist site to let more people die in dignity surrounded by their loved ones.

Since January the Yare Hospice Care group has raised funds to build the specialist palliative care unit in Yarmouth, which could have 10 beds, a day care facility, family garden and a children's play area.

The organisation was formed after people became concerned that the region did not have one hospice bed - despite government targets saying there should be at least 21 - leading to people not having the choice to die at home, in hospital or in a hospice.

Mrs Beesley, chairman of the Yare group of volunteers, said: “The people of Yarmouth and Lowestoft deserve the basic human right to decide where they want to die.

“I get goose bumps every time I see these plans because they look so wonderful and it makes me even more determined to make sure we get a hospice for the region.”

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So far £15,000 has been spent on drawing up business plans. The hospice could cost up to £3m, with health charities and the NHS possibly being asked to help fund the site, which could be open as early as 2010 if enough people back the campaign.

Mrs Beesley was keen to point out that the Yare Hospice was not in competition with an on-going drive to build a palliative care unit in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston.

Tony Wright, MP for Yarmouth and patron of the hospice group, said: “It is quite clear there is a powerful need for something like this in the area.”

For information on the group and its fund-raising activities call Mrs Beesley on 01493 488300, Penny Platten on 01493 601947 or David Nettleship on 01493 655122.

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