Hospice support will be a haven for families

A Lancashire hospice is to provide a haven where children and young people who have lost close relatives can grieve and get the help and support that they need.

Architect, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) has designed a new specialist family support centre which will be built at St John’s Hospice in Lancaster.

The £750,000 project in the grounds of the hospice has been given the go-ahead by city council planners.

Work is set to start soon and the two-storey building could be completed by the end of the year to coincide with the hospice’s 35th anniversary.

St John’s Hospice has been providing palliative care for a wide range of life shortening conditions in North Lancashire and the South Lakes since 1986.

FWP was commissioned to deliver a place for grief therapy, counselling and play for children and teenagers aged from four to 16 who have lost close relatives and need support to overcome a difficult period in their lives.

The existing ‘Lodge’ building on Slyne Road will be demolished to make way for the modern, purpose-built, facility.

The new building will include consulting and quiet rooms, breakout spaces, an open space for group activities, mixed-use areas, a kitchen and offices.

Two gardens have also been incorporated in the plans, including a sensory garden providing intimate spaces where young children and teenagers can be immersed in the scents, textures and colours of plants and related elements.

We’re looking to create a homely feel, with strong interplay between the inside and outside spaces.

Along with specially selected plants, elements such as wind chimes, wind socks, flags, and children’s art will be included in the garden design.

Neil Ainsworth FWP partner, who is architect on the project, said: “The new centre will deliver improved facilities and space that will allow the hospice to provide a wide range of support services for the community.

“We’ve designed a very special building for therapy and play. We’ve used natural lighting wherever possible and have looked to create calm and friendly spaces throughout.

“We’re looking to create a homely feel, with strong interplay between the inside and outside spaces.

“We believe our bold design will also allow the new centre to stand out and be a beacon of hope that the whole community can be proud of.”

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector.

It has a successful track record of delivering health projects in the North West over the last 25 years.

The practice, which has just celebrated its 60th anniversary, is currently working with the Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust to create a new rehabilitation centre in Wesham.

Earlier this year it completed the refurbishment of The Skylark Centre for the trust. A rehabilitation unit at Royal Preston Hospital, the centre helps patients recovering from mental health conditions.

The practice has also helped deliver the Life and Urgent Care centres at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital; The Minerva Centre in Preston North End’s Deepdale ground and the Oaklands Mental Health Facility in Lancaster.

FWP is a RIBA practice as well as being CHAS and ISO 9001 accredited.

It offers architecture, M&E design, structural engineering, interior design, building surveying, project management, quantity surveying and CDM consultancy services.

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