Builders have moved in to start converting the former council offices into a bespoke hospice, which is due to open next spring.
First stage work includes internal alterations to create a large central activity area, sensory and therapy rooms and three bedrooms with ensuites.
The theme for the building and garden will be Wiltshire’s Neolithic heritage, with fun interpretations of white horses, stone monuments and – in a creative extension of the theme – cave drawings interpreted by local children’s artist Hannah Kate Sackett.
Hi-tech features will include a cinema within the main activity room, interactive projection systems that allow play via vision and sound and movement-activated sound boxes in the garden, which will trigger birdsong and other relaxing nature sounds.
The work is being carried out by Wates Construction, whose surveyor, Rebecca Thursby, has a three-year-old daughter, Sophia, who receives care from the Julia’s House Wiltshire community nursing team.
Rebecca, who is responsible for the financial management of the build, commented:
“This is no ordinary contract for me, this is not just about doing a good job for a client, this feels like a very personal project because I know how much it will mean, not only to my family but to families all over Wiltshire. We are all working really collaboratively which is so rewarding.
I have even had some input in the design from my perspective as a parent. I am so pleased to be part of it all.”
The Thursbys moved closer to Devizes in order to be near the new hospice. Rebecca and some of her Wates colleagues recently raised nearly £10,000 for Julia’s House after taking part in the charity’s first Hospice to Hospice Cycle Ride.
Julia’s House Facilities Manager Andy Munn said:
“Wates are supporting us by offering a full contract management package for the project at massively discounted price, as well as using their own supply chain to save on costs of material and labour which is hugely generous of them.”
Julia’s House will launch a recruitment drive for hospice staff, including extra nurses and carers, this autumn ready to begin training in January ahead of the official opening.
Peter Whitmore, Business Unit Director for Wates Construction Southern Home Counties and South West, said:
“Our work at Julia’s House brings with it the opportunity to bring long lasting benefit to the local community. We are proud to be supporting one of our colleagues in the process and are set to apply our extensive expertise in the care sector to create an environment that takes into account the needs of all children.”