Grace’s Place children’s hospice to close at end of August

Date published: 12 August 2019

Children’s hospice Grace’s Place, which serves Bury, Rochdale and Oldham, will close later this month due to a lack of funding, despite only opening in January this year.

Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, a pioneering charity based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, opened the doors of Grace’s Place to children across Bury, Oldham and Rochdale earlier this year.

A consultation to close the service began after rising costs left the charity in 'an unsustainable position'. A full hospice service is estimated to cost around £1.2m every year.

Luen Thompson, Chief Executive of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, said in a statement: “Following a consultation with staff, I am very sad to have to announce that Grace’s Place in Bury will now close.

“Despite extensive media coverage, support from local politicians and council members and generous offers of support from the community, we have not been able to secure enough additional funding to keep our doors open and continue to deliver services to local families at Grace’s Place.

“We have agreed with all of the families on our caseload how they want to be supported in the future and transition arrangements are being put in place. Almost all of them have opted to continue to receive services via Forget Me Not through our hospice in Huddersfield or as part of our hospice at home offer.

“All families will be offered access to our transport fund to help cover any additional travel costs. We will be asking families if they would like to have any of the equipment or toys at Grace’s Place.

“Other children’s hospices have also been invited to visit the premises and take any equipment that might be useful to them. In this way, all of the equipment donated or paid for by our supporters will still benefit children with life limiting conditions, many of whom live in the Greater Manchester area.

“We deeply regret having to make this decision. But I am grateful that we’ve have been able to close the service in a planned way ensuring we meet our responsibilities to staff, volunteers and families.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in trying to develop our Bury children’s hospice, particularly the team at Grace’s Place who continue to be there for our families and continue to secure support for Forget Me Not.”

Originally set up as a partnership between Bury Hospice and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Grace’s Place was taken over by Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, a pioneering charity based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in July 2017.

There are around 650 children in the Bury, Oldham and Rochdale area who live with life-shortening conditions. The lack of a local children’s hospice had meant that the vast majority of these families had to go further afield to access the specialist care and support they so badly need.

Grace’s Place was originally planned to open in the autumn of 2014, having refurbished the former Bury Hospice site on Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, to serve as a children’s hospice.

The majority of the cost of redeveloping the building was met by a £507,000 grant from the Department of Health. Plans for the hospice to open faltered after the charity fell into financial difficulty due to the cost of the building works, before the building company donated the outstanding debt.

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