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Work starts on £3m cancer care facility
BUILDING work on a £3m centre that will support cancer sufferers and their families began this week.
Contractors for the charity Maggie’s Oxford began setting up the site in the grounds of Oxford’s Churchill Hospital opposite the cancer centre.
It is expected the treehouse-style building, designed by Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, will open in 2014.
The centre will be able to support 100 people a day, more than three times the number the existing Maggie’s Centre can help.
The new centre will replace the charity’s temporary building, which has been in use for the past eight years.
Christine Dunken, 66, from Arncott, near Bicester, estimates she has been involved in events that have raised about £10,000 for Maggies.
They included a sponsored walk in 2011 in memory of her sister Margaret Hopcroft, who died in 2009 from cancer, aged 61.
Mrs Dunkin said: “The new centre is going to make a big difference because people will know where Maggie’s is – when they come out of the hospital it is there looking at you.
“I’m over the moon.”
Alan Jackson, of Jacksons Contracting Ltd, which is building the new centre, said: “It is rather groundbreaking in its design.
“The building will be on stilts and they are there to look like tree trunks.”
Prof Edward Baker, medical director for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We welcome this exciting new development, which will further complement our services for patients with cancer at the Churchill Hospital.”
Laura Lee, Maggie’s chief executive, said: “It is always a momentous occasion when we are able to start work on a new centre.
“It is a credit to the support, hard work and determination of people in the area that we are breaking ground. “We will soon be in a position to help more people who are living with cancer in Oxfordshire – we look forward to sharing the progress of the build with you and welcoming you into our new centre.”
The new building will have three wings and a central space, allowing separate areas for information, emotional support and relaxation. There will also be a kitchen and a dining area.
Claire Marriott, centre head at Maggie’s Oxford, said: “The fact we can start work is thanks to the community rallying behind us by raising money to make the new centre a reality – so thank you.”
John Heath, 68, from Byfield in Northamptonshire, has terminal cancer and visits the temporary Maggie’s Centre at the Churchill regularly.
He said: “The Maggie’s Centre is absolutely terrific and the work they do has certainly made a big difference to me.”
There are 5,000 people diagnosed with cancers by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust every year.
The money to fund the new centre was raised through individual donations and grants.
Donate to the charity by calling Meghan Doran, fundraising organiser on 01865 225710 or email Meghan.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the temporary centre, which is open Monday to Friday 9-5pm.
Maggie’s offers free emotional, practical and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.
There are support groups based at the centres, and stress management sessions and financial advice is also available.
The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996.
The temporary centre in Oxford has been supporting people affected by cancer in the grounds of Churchill Hospital since 2004.
There are now 14 centres in the grounds of specialist cancer hospitals across the UK including London, Cheltenham, Southampton and Cambridge.
The charity relies on grants, donations and fundraising from members of the public.