ITV presenter launches £4m hospice bid

Basingstoke Gazette: Alastair Stewart launches the campaign at Naomi House Alastair Stewart launches the campaign at Naomi House

A TOP news presenter has launched a north Hampshire children’s hospice’s £4million appeal to refurbish one of its buildings.

ITV presenter Alastair Stewart was at Naomi House and Jacksplace Hospice, in Sutton Scotney, on Monday, as the patron of The Caterpillar Appeal.

Money raised through the appeal will fund the hospice’s plans to redevelop Naomi House for the first time in its 16-year history, and bring it back up to modern standards.

Mr Stewart said: “The care and support the hospice offers to life-limited children, young people and families is truly exceptional, and these seriously-ill youngsters deserve the very best facility in which to benefit from valuable respite, emergency, end of life and bereavement care.”

The redevelopment plans for 2014 include a complete redesign of the hospice interior, starting with a new entrance foyer and private interview room, a new spiritual area and a roof terrace overlooking the gardens.

The northern wing of the hospice will have a new training room for staff development. There will also be a new communal area with dedicated play, music and dining rooms, a new kitchen, larger bedrooms and improvements to family accommodation.

The final element of The Caterpillar Appeal will be to link Naomi House and Jacksplace together by an enclosed bridge through the trees that currently separate the two hospices.

This will allow people at Naomi House to use the hydrotherapy pool at Jacksplace and also enable a transitional process where teenage patients are gradually introduced to the more adult environment of Jacksplace, in advance of leaving Naomi House.

The refurbishment will include green features and a new building management system, which is estimated to save £100,000 per year in running costs.

Naomi House and Jacksplace chairman David Holmes said £2million has already been raised towards the refurbishment, and added: “I am confident that we can do it and that together we can create the most wonderful hospice in Naomi House.

“What this refurbishment does is future-proof Naomi House because it will make sure that the facilities that we are able to provide will last for years to come, and are some of the best in England, and that’s really exciting.”

Preparation work is already underway for the refurbishment, with temporary bedrooms being created at Jacksplace for Naomi House patients to use during the redevelopment, which is expected to start in May.

For more information, visit caterpillarappeal.org.uk.

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