THE £6 million council-funded relocation of Woking & Sam Beare Hospices will see the charity move into Goldsworth House.
The News & Mail announced that talks between the council and hospice chiefs were at an advanced stage last week.
And after the declaration of a multi-million pound loan, we can reveal that Goldsworth House is where the future of the charity, which has in excess of 1,000 patients in its care, lies.
Hospice founder and trustee Rhod Lofting (right) said that the plans to relocate and merge the Woking and Weybridge facilities were a triumph for all involved.
“We are a community of winners here, thanks to Woking Borough Council enabling the expansion of our hospice services,” he said.
“Without their help, the progression and development of these facilities would have been hesitant at best.
“Now we can plan for the future, secure in the knowledge that we can deliver, meeting the needs of an ever expanding community. To their credit, and after much deliberation, the council have concluded a business deal with Woking Hospice where the authority, the hospice and the community are all winners.
“That doesn’t happen too often and I am so pleased for Woking.”
The new site, which has been billed a ‘centre of excellence’, will accommodate the inpatient beds currently at Sam Beare Hospice.
The Weybridge facility, located in the High Street, is set to be transformed into a community care centre.
Growth at Sam Beare, taken over by Woking Hospice in 2006, has been stifled as the charity was unable to secure anything longer than a three-year lease on their current premises. The renovation of Goldsworth House is expected to be completed in 2016, with updates on progress promised, from design through to grand opening.
The hospice was given council backing after an extensive review into the organisation’s service needs. But Mr Lofting made it clear the cash injection, vital to the hospice with patients now living for longer, was not just an early Christmas present.
He explained: “Make no mistake, this is a loan from the council. It has to be paid back, and we will always need the support of the community to help fund our core services.”
A public meeting offering residents and users the chance to glean more information on the relocation was held at the HG Wells Centre yesterday (Wednesday).
A similar meeting is being held at Weybridge Hall at 6.30pm tonight.