Julia’s House Devizes, the first children’s hospice in Wiltshire was officially opened by the charity’s Patron Martin Clunes on Saturday.
More than 100 invited guests attended the ceremony to celebrate the end of the building work with a reception in the garden followed by tours of the new £2 million pound hospice.
The ribbon cut was performed by Joseph Hartley, 5 and Summer Paddock, 7 - with a little help from Martin Clunes. Both children currently receive care from the Julia’s House Wiltshire community team.
The actor, who is a long-standing supporter of Julia’s House said: “I’m very excited and privileged because I know an awful lot of hard work has gone into this. I’m really pleased to be opening the hospice because I’ve heard the talk, I’ve seen the plans and now I’ve seen the new Julia’s House, I’m bowled over by it.”
Work to convert the former council offices into a beautiful new children’s hospice took a year. It has a large central activity room, sensory and therapy rooms and three bedrooms for occasional weekend and overnight stays. The garden has a wheelchair-friendly trampoline and a nest swing.
The hospice incorporates many high-tech features including interactive projection systems that allow play via vision, sound and movement, enabling children to play and have fun regardless of their physical limitations.
Joseph’s mum, Liz said: “Joseph has been so excited. It is fantastic to see him so happy. It is so good to have a place where he can come and feel safe and we can feel relaxed.”
The hospice will now undergo a formal inspection and go through a 10-week long commissioning process to gain Care Quality Commission approval before welcoming the first families in July.
Julia’s House, which already has a hospice in Dorset, has been supporting Wiltshire families with life-limited children for three years via its home-based community care.
The new hospice will give families the chance to choose where they receive their respite sessions as well as offering access to top class facilities, specialist end of life care and social opportunities.
The public are invited to come and see the new hospice for themselves at an open day on Thursday, 15th June.
Click here to book a tour or email Wiltshire@juliashouse.org.