Julia’s House Devizes, the first children’s hospice in Wiltshire, had its official opening on Saturday, 6th May.
Julia’s House Chief Executive, Martin Edwards, said:
“We couldn’t have built the hospice or launched our Wiltshire care service, without incredible local and international support. The response of the public and the determination to make this happen for Wiltshire families has been fantastic.
Having the support of the community, now and in the future, is vital because Julia’s House is 94 per cent community funded. We simply would not be able to run this vital service without their ongoing help and generosity.”
Fundraising for the new hospice took just two years thanks to the substantial donations and efforts of local people, Julia’s House friends’ groups and businesses.
Beyond the bricks and mortar of the build itself, funding was also required to help pay for nurses, carers and some running costs for the rapidly expanding service.
The hospice opening was attended by its patron Martin Clunes (pictured).
Celebrity support for Wiltshire care service was led by Guy Ritchie and wife Jacqui who held a fundraising event as well as Robert Downey Jr who offered a VIP prize via online auction company Omaze. Jasper Conran OBE’s contribution funds two Wiltshire nurses and comedian Michael McIntyre hosted a number of sell-out shows that paid for the activity lounge in the new hospice.
Wates Construction offered a full management package at a discounted price. Wates also used its supply chain to cut the cost of materials and labour saving Julia’s House £330,000 on the cost of the build.
Additionally, during it’s annual Community Week Wates chose Julia’s House as its charity, raising £10,000. This was combined with further funding from the Wates charitable foundation, Wates Giving, and used to fund the hospice’s central hoist track system.
Wates’ employee Rebecca Thursby played a key role in the build as project surveyor and it has been a project close to her heart as her three-year-old daughter, Sophia receives care from the Julia’s House Wiltshire community nursing team.
Rebecca Thursby, Project Surveyor, Wates, commented:
“The official opening of Julia’s House is a very proud day for everyone at Wates, but it has extra significance for me personally. The nursing team has provided exceptional levels of care to my daughter over recent years and I know firsthand how important the hospice will be to families across the region.
This has been a collaborative process throughout and I’d like to thank our supply chain and construction partners, all of whom have played a key role in bringing the project to successful completion.
Wates is a family business and we are committed to making a positive impact on the communities in which we work. This is the largest not-for-profit scheme the company has worked on in its 120 year history and it has been a privilege to help bring this inspiring project to life.”
Further donations towards the building work were made by The Underwood Trust, The Wolfson Foundation and Richmond Group. A grant from the Morrisons Foundation funded the garden and equipment for the hospice interior. Funding for extra nurses and carers to man new the hospice and work in the community came from large donations by The Adrian Swire Charitable Trust and The Blagrave Trust as well as a community effort by the staff and readers of the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald newspaper.
Julia’s House has been supporting Wiltshire families for the past three years, offering home and community-based respite care to parents with life-limited children. The new centrally-based hospice will offer families access to state-of-the-art facilities and more social opportunities.
Julia’s House Devizes will now undergo inspection to gain Care Quality Commission approval before welcoming the first families this summer.
There will be a series of public open days, the first of which is on 15th June.