A NEW hospice that will provide end of life care to the people of Cambridgeshire is being built in Peterborough – and the fundraising campaign is set to reach Huntingdon with the opening of a new charity shop.

Sue Ryder’s hospice has been based at Thorpe Hall since it opened in 1986 and has cared for, and supported, more than 7,500 patients and families.

But despite its idyllic setting and great reputation, the Grade I listed building is not a practical place to provide care.

As a result Sue Ryder has launched a £6.5million fundraising campaign to build a new hospice that will provide patients with increased privacy and better facilities for both the patients and the staff who care for them.

Hospice manager Philip Ball said: “One of the problems at the moment is we have no single rooms which makes it a challenge keeping conversations private and having personal moments. It also means we might have to close beds if someone has a particularly bad condition.”

The current building also makes it difficult to manoeuvring patients from floor to floor and get them outside. The heating of Thorpe Hall in the winter is also costly.

These problems, Mr Ball said, would all be resolved with the new hospice, which will have only ground floor rooms.

“The new building will provide single rooms for everyone and even rooms for guests to stay. We’re going to have rooms where the doors open so patients can go outside even if they’re in bed.

“There will also be special paths for people to move around and interact with other patients so that it feels more like daily life.”

Thorpe Hall has played a huge part in the lives of many families in Huntingdonshire including Wendy Hunt, 70, of Shawley Road, Sawtry. She is the full time carer of her husband, John, who has been going for respite care at Thorpe Hall for almost a decade.

Mrs Hunt told The Hunts Post: “I’d always recommend Thorpe Hall. Looking after someone 24 hours a day is exhausting and respite care gives me a chance to rest and relax.

“The staff do a fantastic job in difficult conditions at the moment and the new building would make things a lot easier for them.”

A two-year fundraising campaign started in March and will include the opening of a new charity shop in Huntingdon later this month.

Meta Lear, area manager for Sue Ryder, said: “We’re hoping the community will find us very appealing – our shops are very bright and they are on trend. We try to make it so that the majority of the donated goods sold come from the local area.”

About £1.3m has been raised and building work on the new hospice will start in the spring ... if the fundraising is on track.

INFORMATION: To find out more about the appeal, visit www.sueryder.org/What-we-do/Care-centres/Thorpe-Hall-Hospice