St Michael’s Hospice launches Phoenix Appeal

Computer generated image of the new reception and coffee shop SUS-160217-104858001
Computer generated image of the new reception and coffee shop SUS-160217-104858001

St Michael’s Hospice is set to rise like a Phoenix following last year’s devastating fire.

It has launched an appeal to raise a cool £1m to help with the estimated £4m rebuild costs.

Computer generated image of how one of the new bedrooms will look SUS-160217-101703001

Computer generated image of how one of the new bedrooms will look SUS-160217-101703001

The fire, on July 11, 2015, resulted in extensive damage to the main hospice building.

Three patients died shortly afterwards and many were hospitalised.

Shock and disbelief that such an unthinkable thing could happen in a place of sanctuary and care reverberated throughout the community and the country.

The fire had a far-reaching effect.

Not just on those who lost their loved ones and those who were injured or had to be relocated, but also the Hastings and Rother community which relies on the essential service it provides and St Michael’s dedicated team of staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to make the hospice the place of excellence it is.

Now, however, St Michael’s is looking to the future and the Observer is proud to announce its support for the £1m capital Phoenix Appeal, to raise essential funds to rebuild and re-open the in-patient unit at the hospice.

The Phoenix Appeal will allow the hospice to provide the very best facilities for patients, families and friends, staff and volunteers and ensure it is able to meet the end of life care needs for the next generation.

This is the biggest appeal for funding it has ever made and is in addition to the £10,000 the hospice has to raise each and every day.

The total refurbishment costs are estimated to be in the region of £4m and Sally Beresford, community fundraiser, says while the hospice’s insurance will cover the cost of repairing the fire damage – approximately £1m – they need to provide the funds to pay for additional works.

“We have been very fortunate in recent years and built up our level of reserves, which every charity is required to maintain.

This allows us to contribute £2m towards this project,” she said.

“Now we are several months down the line, we can start to look positively to the future. We are taking the opportunity not only to repair the areas damaged by fire but also to carry out some much longed for alterations to our beloved hospice building. Like the phoenix from the flames the hospice will rise from the ashes but we need your help.”

For further information, or to donate, visit: or

Construction on St Michael’s ambitious £4m renovation project, which has many 21st century improvements in the mix, began last month and is due to be completed in the late autumn.

Elaine McDonough, head of clinical services says while the hospice has always provided a warm and welcoming environment, the improvements will greatly enhance the facilities it provides.

“We will be converting the two communal wards on the ground floor destroyed by the fire into eight single bedrooms with en-suite facilities and direct garden access, enabling all patients to benefit from having their own personal space and facilities,” she said.

“All our other patient bedrooms and en-suites will be refurbished, supporting our commitment that all patients are as comfortable as possible during their time at the hospice.

“The rooms will feature streamlined furniture, allowing patients more room when getting about in a wheelchair, a soothing colour palette, individual fridges and improved accessibility for patients and visitors by bringing together all patient services over the ground and first floor.”

A number of fire safety precautions will be installed, including a sprinkler system to provide immediate and isolated fire suppression, and a new fire-safe lift – the first of its kind in Hastings and Rother – at the front of the building to support swift and safe evacuation of the hospice.

The lift will also provide day-to-day assistance with patient transportation and accessibility by offering improved movement throughout the building, including direct access to the gardens as well as providing greater out-of-hours security for patients, staff and volunteers.

Elaine added: “At the end of the refurbishment the hospice will truly be fit for the future.

“Please support the Phoenix Appeal to ensure we are able to provide specialist palliative care for the communities of Hastings and Rother for many years to come.”

Mark Benton backs Phoenix Appeal

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