Building begins on the new St Catherine’s Hospice

Published: 09 Mar 2022

Building work has begun on a larger St Catherine’s Hospice at Pease Pottage which will provide more care for people in our community. 

Barnes Construction have started work on the local charity’s new hospice which will provide more space to develop essential hospice services and allow hospice teams to respond to the increasing need for hospice care.

The time for a new hospice is now

St Catherine’s was first founded in 1983 by a group of pioneers in the local community who recognised end of life care needed to be better for local people. Since then, St Catherine’s has provided care and support to thousands of local families, but with no room to grow at their current hospice in Malthouse Road, the hospice needs to expand to provide more care to more people now and in the future.

Hospice care has never been more needed

Research has shown demand for hospice services will rapidly increase with an ageing population. Current trends suggest that there could be twice as many deaths in hospices, care homes, and private homes in 20 years' time[1]. Coronavirus has also caused devastating disruption to people’s health. During the pandemic there were 50,000 late-stage diagnoses for cancer (Macmillan Cancer Support, 2021) and significant worsening of symptoms amongst people living with dementia (Alzheimer’s Society 2020).[2]

Bereavement is also now a national crisis

Early data from Cardiff University's Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre and the University of Bristol found many bereaved people are experiencing severe vulnerability in their grief. They’re facing long waiting lists or being told they’re ineligible for help. St Catherine’s can provide specialist bereavement support to help local people to navigate their loss.

Giles Tomsett, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s said, “Despite the excellent work of the NHS, too many people have experienced tragic deaths during the pandemic. People have died alone without family or friends by their side or experienced uncertainty or delay to their treatments. Others have felt terrible guilt because they were unable to fulfil a loved one’s last wishes or say goodbye in a meaningful way.

So many people didn’t have the death they deserved or wanted. So many others had to cope with bereavement isolated and alone. With your help, we need to make sure that people in our local community don’t ever have to cope alone again. That’s why we’re thrilled to share that work on our new hospice has begun. We’re currently setting the foundations ready for our new building’s steel framework to be assembled this summer. Following this we hope to have

our first rooms complete by around August 2023 and will be welcoming people to our new hospice in Autumn next year.”

The new hospice will provide more care to more of our community

It will allow St Catherine’s to expand its expert community services so more families can have support in the comfort of their own home. It will also allow the charity to increase wellbeing, emotional care and bereavement support by offering private counselling rooms, a reflective courtyard and spiritual space.

But it has all only been made possible thanks to the generosity of local people. This includes Bill Bridges, a landowner who donated land at Pease Pottage in memory of his mother who received hospice care and John Shelmeld who left a significant gift to the local charity in his will in 2014.

A new hospice will transform patient and families’ experience of hospice care

There will be 24 beds, an increase from 18 beds in the current hospice, and all rooms will offer people a peaceful private garden and ensuite bathroom. 12 rooms have adjoining sitting rooms for families to stay overnight. Four rooms have been especially designed to meet the needs of people with dementia and all rooms have bedroom hoists for safe and dignified movement. Additionally, four rooms have bathroom hoists for people who need this extra support. St Catherine’s currently lacks space to have difficult and private conversations with family members so their new building has dedicated space to allow greater dignity and comfort. There are also family spaces for relatives on each ward to prepare food, relax and take a moment.

The difference a new hospice will make

  • An additional 250 people will receive care as outpatients and 110 extra patients will be cared for on the hospice wards each year
  • New step-down care will be offered for people coming out of hospital who are not quite ready to return home
  • Respite care will be reintroduced on the hospice wards, giving carers a much needed break from caring for someone they love at home
  • Enhanced wellbeing groups such as breathe easy clinics, emotional support groups, and physiotherapist led exercise classes will help people to live as well as they can for as long as they can
  • To help people cope with loss and bereavement, there will be private rooms to speak with family members and dedicated spaces for remembrance and contemplation.

St Catherine’s is so near to completing their new hospice, but the local charity has a final £800,000 to raise

Now they are calling on the community to help more people have the end of life care they deserve. “Together we have a unique chance to provide better end of life care and to help more families through bereavement. With your help we need one final push to finish our new hospice. I hope you will join us,” said Giles.

To donate towards your new local hospice please visit: or call the St Catherine’s Fundraising Team on 01293 447361. Collectively, your generosity and the generosity of others will complete St Catherine’s new hospice home – thank you!

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