Work on a much-needed resource centre which will bring vital information and support closer to home for people with life-limiting illnesses is nearing completion, with project leads hopeful the building will open by the end of the year.
Doors, windows and a roof have been added to the Pear Tree Centre, which is being built on land next to Cutlers Hill Surgery in Halesworth, while work to plaster the internal walls and install electrics and water is now taking place.
All of the major work on the £880,000 project, which is being spearheaded by the Pear Tree Fund charity, should be complete within the next few weeks. The building will then be fitted out and decorated with the aim of welcoming its first patients by the end of the year.
Three nurses who were instrumental in setting up the charity 30 years ago – Jane Edwards, Nikki Sawkins and Barbara Kell – celebrated the milestone on Friday by visiting the site to tour the building. Although they were unable to take part in a traditional “topping out” ceremony as the scaffolding has now been removed, the trio did their bit to help Great Yarmouth-based Elm Contracts with construction by brandishing skimming tools and trying their hands at plastering.
Ted Edwards, co-chair of the Pear Tree Centre project, said: “We are absolutely delighted that work on this fantastic community resource has progressed so quickly. The building is now completely water-tight, while we can clearly see the shape and size of the meeting space, counselling rooms and therapy areas.
“Once open, the centre will provide a huge variety of support and resources for people with cancer and other life-limiting illness from across north east Suffolk and south Norfolk, as well as their families and carers.
“This simply would not have been possible without the fantastic help of both our local community and national charitable trusts. We are incredibly grateful for every penny we have received and would like to once again thank everyone who has supported the project so far.”
The Pear Tree Centre will offer family services and advice on finance and benefits, as well as help understanding a diagnosis and coping with bereavement. It will include space for local support groups to meet, a counselling room, small library and a comfortable area where people can relax and chat informally. A therapy room where patients can receive complementary treatments, such as Reiki and massage, will also be available, along with a landscaped garden to help promote wellbeing.
The Pear Tree Fund is now raising money towards the centre’s projected annual running costs of around £140,000 a year. To find out more about the centre and how you could support the charity, visit www.peartreefund.org