Funding SOS campaign to aid centre upgrade

Helen Thompson outside St John's Hospice.
Helen Thompson outside St John's Hospice.

Doncaster’s St John’s Hospice is all set to undergo a £1.8 million transformation - and we are once more calling on Doncaster Free Press readers to help raise the cash.

Your caring Free Press has worked tirelessly with Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust for the last 20 years - and you, our readers, were responsible in finding the money to help the trust raise funds to build the Balby hospice in 1992.

In 2000 you didn’t disappoint again when your generosity funded a £1 million extension in our Millennium Million campaign, and last year you helped cancer patients in need by raising £600,000 for a new scanner at Doncaster Royal Infirmary with our Scan For Life appeal.

Now we want you to dig deep once again and prove that Doncaster folk have got what it takes when it comes to being big-hearted charity donors.

The new scheme, which will improve and update the hospice, is mainly being funded by a Department of Health grant and from the Hospice Charitable Funds supported by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospice, as well as by the cancer detection trust.

However, there is a funding gap of £500,000 - and that’s where you come in.

Today we are asking Doncaster to help staff and volunteers at St John’s Hospice fund raise to help meet the cost of this exciting project. And so we are launching our St John’s Hospice Development Appeal which aims to raise £500,000 over the next 12 months. The launch coincides with Hospice CareWweek, which highlights the valuable and varied work of hospices across the UK. Work on the revamp, which will get underway once the tender process in completed, will see the hospice, in Weston Road, completely renovated to provide a modern, welcoming and comforting environment for patients facing a life-limiting illness – which includes cancer - along with their families, carers and friends. Hospice spokesman Helen Thompson said: “We want to upgrade and refurbish St John’s Hospice to improve the patient environment – in other words, to make it more homely and comfortable for patients who use our service.

“The improvements will support the health professionals who work here in delivering unique, personal, best quality care for patients, their carers and families. The revamp will help us to deliver a modern service to cater for all of our patients’ needs.”

Carol Spiller, of the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust, added: “We are only too happy to support this project. We have a lot of fundraising to do over the next 12 months, but we know, with the support of Doncaster people that we can do this. The money will benefit Doncaster patients who need help and support at a tough time in their lives.”

Andrew Hewitt, content editor of the Doncaster Free Press said: “Most of us our affected by cancer at some point in our lives and we would encourage the residents of Doncaster to once again show how generous they are by supporting this worthwhile campaign which will help to provide the best possible care for patients and their loved ones in their time of need.” The extensive work will result in the relocation of the main entrance to provide easier access, and the conversion of the current ward area to accommodate ten en-suite single rooms.

The day care area will be refurbished to provide a calming environment in which patients can relax and be supported by staff. In addition there will be a separate entrance for ambulances to give patients direct access to the ward. But all this comes at a price. Doncaster residents are now being asked to get involved to help raise money to support the project, whether it be by holding a sponsored walk, a car boot sale, or a coffee and cupcake morning – every penny raised will help towards the development.