Archbishop Blesses Site for New Hospice Building
Phil Taylor ·
The Archbishop of Liverpool, The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly has blessed the site of a new hospice extension at Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury.
Following the demolition of the adjacent building, belonging to the former Catholic Children’s Rescue Society, the site has been cleared ready for construction works to begin on the new seven bedroom extension which will increase the amount of respite care the hospice can offer. Among those attending the blessing service were Mr Warren Smith J.P. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, John Leech MP, fundraiser Kirsty Howard, senior staff and members of the care team of Francis House and young people and supporters of the hospice.
The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Bishop of Salford at the time, blessed the original site over 20 years ago. Sister Aloysius, head of the convent of Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph on the same site as the rescue society decreed the building be converted into a children’s hospice, hence the name Francis House.
All children who come to Francis House from all over the North West have been diagnosed with an illness for which there is no known medical cure. Archbishop Kelly said: “Tonight is acknowledgement of the task in which we’re involved which is beyond even the best of our resources. To recall the original inspiration of Francis House came from the hearts of concerned followers of Jesus. But right from the beginning, that has inspired a determination to serve any family for whom this service can enrich their lives.”
In recent years, medical advances and improved methods of care have seen the number of children living beyond sixteen years of age increase. This has resulted in the number of days and nights respite Francis House is able to offer each child and family being significantly reduced. With this inevitable increase in numbers, the new extension will give existing users the number of nights respite they need and deserve.
In July 2011 Kirsty helped by Sir Alex Ferguson launched the new building appeal at Manchester Town Hall. The construction works, due to be completed mid-2013, will double the number of bedrooms, each will have its own view out onto a courtyard, own colour scheme, will be fitted with specially adapted PS3s, televisions, self-lowering wash basins and wheel chair height electric sockets.
The anticipated capital costs are £3.5 million and annual running costs for the extended Francis House will be approximately £4.6 million.