A CAGE of metal and concrete has grown from the garden of an Oxford hospice as building work hits the halfway mark.

Major expansion plans are becoming a tangible reality at Sobell House Hospice in Headington, where a one-year building project is on track for completion in May.

Patients at the Churchill Hospital, where the hospice is based, might notice the skeleton of the new clinic and garden annex peeking out over the car park.

Diane Gardner, chief executive of Sobell House Charity, said the work is 'well under way' and on schedule for a spring 2019 finish.

She added: "We are now six months into the build and the structure has taken shape with the different areas of the annex and clinic becoming clear.

"It has been exciting over the last six months to see the building plans translated into reality."

The new £4.3m building will provide six rooms for patients who are approaching the end of their life, and has been designed to aid those who might be confused or have dementia.

It will also house an outpatient clinic for several services for patients not based in the hospice, such as support for patients suffering from lymphoedema, to help them remain living at home for longer.

There will also be new offices and facilities for staff.

Mrs Gardner said: "The upright steels for the structure are complete and the next job is to make the building water-tight for the coming winter, by completing the roof, walls and windows.

"This is planned to be finished before the worst of the winter weather sets in and the internal work can then begin.

"We are very grateful to Kingerlee, our contractors, the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust and the other professionals who have been so supportive of the build and who are working hard to keep it on track."

She said the project had been made possible by 'extremely kind and generous fundraising' by the Oxfordshire community in aid of Sobell House, and legacies and gifts left in wills.

The chief executive added: "We will need to continue to adapt our services to suit the changing needs of the local community.

"Supporters can help us do that by joining our Sobell House team at the Oxford Half Marathon on October 7, organise their own fundraising event or talk to us about how to remember Sobell House in their will."

Staff at Sobell worked with GBS Architects to develop the extension, for which plans were initially announced in January 2016.

Though a groundbreaking ceremony was held in late 2017, building was set back from October due to unexpected administrative delays.

Workers are now on site every weekday to ensure the facility is built in time, to meet the growing need of palliative and end-of-life care services in the county.

Sobell has still retained part of its garden and patients still have access to outdoor space while the work continues, and new sensory shrubs including a magnolia tree will be planted to finish the new building.

The build is part of a wider £9m expansion of Sobell's existing provision, in reaction to rising pressures caused by an ageing population.