Work on new St Peter's Hospice Garden Room is well underway in Brentry

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By sophia1980 | Thursday, January 16, 2014, 11:24

A much-anticipated extension of the St Peter's Hospice in Brentry is well underway with the completion of the solid oak frame of the structure this week.

Made from 16-tonnes of handcrafted oak, 150 oak beams and 500 oak pegs the building will be home to the Psycho Social Spiritual team at the hospice and will provide a relaxing Garden Room for patients to enjoy.

Made and erected by South West company Westwind Oak, the structure took a month to make and a day and a half to put up. With completion due in March next year, St Peter's Hospice bereavement coordinator, Elaine Browning explains what the new building will mean to the hospice:

"We are all so excited for the completion of the PSS building at the hospice and now that the frame is up it all feels much more real.

"The building will allow us to provide more creative therapies including music therapy and art therapy. It will also provide a brilliant space for group bereavement work which so many find invaluable when they have lost a loved one.

"We want to create a safe and supportive environment for those grieving so that we can help them find a way forward with the rest of their lives.

"Some friends and family members find it very difficult to re-enter the hospice after having lost someone there, so the fact that this building is a little bit removed will make it so much easier for them.

"It's going to be a very calm space for us to do our work and I just can't wait to get started."

The PSS team works with patients, families and carers who may be struggling to cope with the challenges of serious illness. While the social workers on the team provide advice on care at home, statutory rights and benefits available, the spiritual care team helps people explore questions of meaning and purpose sometimes including aspects of religion and faith.

The team also provides therapies such as music and art which can help people express their feelings and can be a great way for families to spend some creative time together.

One person who understands firs-hand the work the hospice does is Aron Markey one of the men who helped to build the oak frame for the new building.

Aron, 44, who lives in Bedminster, sadly lost his uncle to Emphysema in July this year. Aron's uncle was cared for by the hospice in his final week. Aron said:

"It has been amazing to be able to work on a project which I know will mean so much to many. When my uncle passed away myself and my family were so impressed with the quality of the care it provided and we were really struck with how positive and uplifting the whole experience was although it was a sad time.

"My uncle first used the hospice services in June and because of the standard of care he received he was able to live several more weeks. The hospice then provided home care for him and eventually he was admitted at the end of his life.

"My uncle was a cabinet maker by trade so to be at the hospice working on a timber structure was unbelievable. As a family we've donated to the hospice but this was really the icing on the cake to be able to build something which more families will benefit from."

St Peter's Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice and is celebrating its 35th anniversary year this year. The hospice cares for more than 2,670 patients yearly, as well as family members.

It costs £6.8 million to run the hospice, so support from the public is essential to keeping the charity going.

Ian Trigg estates manager at St Peter's Hospice said: "This building means an awful lot to everybody at the hospice especially the PSS team so we're very excited that work is underway.

"It's going to look fantastic once finished with the hand crafted oak frame and attractive lighting. The building will provide an environment for the service to really thrive and we're looking forward to seeing how it is put to good use.

"As a Bristol-based charity we receive amazing support from the local community so we pride ourselves on using good local contractors, which is why we have been working with Westwind Oak."

Rupert Newman, managing director of Westwind Oak said: "We have never worked with the hospice before but it has been so rewarding building something which we know will help the people of Bristol. It's a very special site and we hope that those who use it take some inspiration from it."

For more information about St Peter's Hospice please visit www.stpetershospice.org

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