A CENTRE that will provide vital health and wellbeing services to those with life-limiting illnesses, and their loved ones, is officially open.
Guests and those behind the £1.7m project gathered for the launch of The Rowans Hospice Living Well Centre in Waterlooville.
The new building provides a range of clinical services, therapies, activities, help and support not only to those with health problems, but family, friends and carers too.
Ruth White, chief executive of The Rowans Hospice, said: ‘Hospice care is often associated with people who are dying, and many fear that.
‘We want to let people know that actually, it’s about living well before you die and making every day count.
‘We’ll have about 15 volunteers working at the centre each day, and there’ll be doctors, nurses, and therapists holding clinics too.
‘There are activities to take part in, groups to join, and a range of other services available to make use of.’
The centre is on Purbook Heath Road, next to The Rowans Hospice. Its opening falls within Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Ruth added: ‘The vision for the community hub started five years ago. We’ve received funding from individuals, businesses, grant-making trusts and the Department of Health.
‘Anyone wanting to have a conversation about dying or advanced planning can visit.
‘People can socialise too, there’s even a coffee shop.
‘I want to say thank you to those who have made this possible. It’s a centre that’s been built by the community, for the community.’
Among many dignitaries at the opening were members of the Thistlethwayte family, who were instrumental in enabling The Rowans Hospice to use the land for the centre.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire and hospice patron Nigel Atkinson unveiled the centre’s plaque. He said: ‘The Rowans carries out exemplary work.
‘The aim of this wonderful purpose-built centre is to empower people to be in control of their lives, plan ahead and access support.’
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, David Fuller, said at the event: ‘This is a fantastic facility. Ten years ago my mum passed away in a hospice and there was talk of building it, and to see it materialise is great. The Rowans Hospice have got to be commended.
The Mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby added: ‘This centre is going to serve a huge catchment area, all the way from Winchester to Portsmouth.’
The centre is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.