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Charity’s joy as £3m dream a step closer
A CHARITY'S vision for a new centre that would support cancer sufferers and their families is now one step closer.
Maggie’s Oxford has raised £3m – which is enough to make its dream come true and for building work to start this year.
The charity has been operating from a temporary building at Headington’s Churchill Hospital since 2004, but the new structure would mean a better location opposite the cancer centre and the capacity to help more people.
The new building would be able to support 100 people a day – more than three times the number the interim Maggie’s Centre helps.
Dad-of-two David Freeman, of Shipton-on-Cherwell, used the centre during his wife Joanna’s illness.
Mrs Freeman – who founded the Powder Room boutique in Summertown – died of pancreatic cancer aged just 57 in 2011.
Mr Freeman, 68, said: “If you are spending your life in chemotherapy suites, which are all clinical and cold, you need to go somewhere warm and friendly that doesn’t feel medical – Maggie’s do a wonderful job in just a Portakabin.”
Of the proposed building he added: “I think it is absolutely beautiful.
“We are lucky to have the Churchill Hospital which has got wonderful cancer facilities, but you do need this other side “It is nice being in a Portakabin but they deserve better and the families in Oxford deserve better.”
The tree house building, designed by Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, will be divided into three wings and have a central space, allowing separate areas for information, emotional support and relaxation. The centre will have a kitchen, dining table and wood burning stove.
The timber frame of the building will be constructed off site and transported in.
Anna O’Keeffe, community fundraiser for Maggie’s Oxford, said: “It is very limited in the Portakabin at the moment – obviously we cannot offer the full programme other centres can such as Tai Chi and creative arts. With the new building we would be able to offer more of a programme.”
She added: “Everyone knows what amazing places Maggie’s centres are. We just cannot wait to get into the new build.”
The cash raised so far is from individual and corporate donations as well as wills and grants.
A date is yet to be set for the construction work to start.
There are 5,000 people diagnosed with cancers by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust every year.
- Find out more about the charity every Tuesday at 5pm or, for volunteering, from 6pm to 7pm. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Make a donation by emailing meghan.doran@maggies centres.org
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