It has taken years of planning, £6million of local fundraising and 18 months of construction, but staff and patients are finally ready to move into the charity’s purpose-built, £20million hospice in Marsh Lane.
The old hospice in Warwick Road has already been sold to McCarthy and Stone for retirement apartments.
Project manager Simon Whelan said the new building was “a dream come true.”
“It’s better than what I had in my head. We’ve spoken to so many staff and patients and now we have almost everything we ever wanted. All we need is the patients.”
The spacious new hospice boasts 24 single-bed rooms, complementary therapy rooms, a quiet room, canteen, training space, landscaped gardens and more within the six-acre site.
Simon said his vision was to create a calm, ‘home-from-home’, and hoped the building would become a blueprint for future hospices.
“In hospitals, there is always a level of franticness. It’s almost the opposite here.
“You get a sense of calm. It feels warm, light. You can sit and look out at the trees. It feels like it was designed for people.”
He added that everyone involved in the project has been ‘very aware’ they were working on behalf of a charity, which had helped the build come in on time and on budget.
“It’s great to be part of something so special, however small.”
Hospice Manager Liz Cottier said watching the hospice receive its first patients this weekend would be “an emotional experience.”
“We’re all so excited. Our staff and volunteers give fantastic care and to be able to offer that to so many more people, in facilities which are purpose-built, will make such a difference.
“I am so pleased and proud that we can now offer more privacy and dignity to our patients.
“The building is so much bigger than what we have but itstill has a warm and friendly feel. We’ve taken down as many walls as we can so families and patients don’t feel restricted to where they go.
“We’ve got something that the people of Solihull can be proud of.”
Director of the BIG build appeal, Noel Cramer, appealed to locals to help raise the final £1million before the hospice’s official opening later this year.
To help fundraise, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/bigbuild.