The building, which has been flexibly designed, contains two self-contained flats, as well as a huge kitchen area, event space and parking. The new building can be used for families whose children may require longer-term care in the hospice, sibling support activities, nurses' accommodation and the specially adapted kitchen areas will allow young adults to not only socialise with their peers but also learn valuable life skills before leaving children’s services. The space can also be used for families as holiday accommodation, allowing them much-needed breaks.
Demelza mum Glynnis said of this new facility "As a mum to a medically complex child we have been supported by Demelza for more than 18 years now. My two biggest concerns as we transitioned Elke to adult services was the HUGE gap that would be left by the absence of any suitable facilities for Elke to access and losing her connection with her Demelza family friends that she has met whilst being a child supported by Demelza.
What Esquire have provided Demelza with is a fabulous building that can actually address some of these issues. There is ample space for Elke to spend time in, whilst being able to book to use the fantastic facilities available within Demelza such as the hydrotherapy pool.
There is also a fabulous area to host meet ups with her peers to share experiences and maybe access some of the therapy services Demelza offers to its children. I can’t wait to visit Hill Farm again with Elke and hope that Demelza can continue to provide a home from home facility to young adults, like Elke, that no one ever expected to survive to adulthood, let alone provide services for!"
The official opening took place on Wednesday 1 November with contractors, supporter and funders gathering for the unveiling. Following the reveal, Lavinia Jarrett, Chief Executive at Demelza, said:
“I have been at Demelza for over 20 years now and the children’s palliative care sector has changed dramatically over that time. Children with complex conditions are living longer and our services need to adapt and flex to meet the changing needs of local families.
This state-of-the-art building will allow us the flexibility to adapt to families’ specific circumstances, and to support family life to be the best it can be”.
The building was made possible by a gift of the land from the Kemsley family, and the build itself has been funded by award-winning Kent-based developer Esquire Developments, a long-term supporter of Demelza.
Pat Convey Head of Construction at Esquire Developments said “Working with local charities is incredibly important to us here at Esquire and our relationship with Demelza is a special one. The team regularly helps out with fundraising events and is always looking for new ways to offer support, which is why we are extremely proud to have provided this fantastic new facility for Demelza."