THE dream becomes reality as the first bricks are laid at the site of the new Grace House children’s hospice.
Work is under way on the development in Southwick, with the purpose-built facility expected to be open by next summer.
Kathy Secker, founder of the Grace House Appeal, which was set up to build, equip and run the hospice, said: “The dream becomes bricks and mortar.
“I cannot begin to tell you what a happy day this is, not just for me but for everyone who is making this possible. Thank you.”
Fund-raising for the hospice is continuing, with the appeal still needing money to ensure the facility can offer around-the-clock help to families.
People across Wearside are being urged to donate, as well as come up with fund-raising ideas.
Karen Maclennan, from the Grace House Appeal, said: “We are encouraging as many people as possible to get involved.”
Staffed by a team of dedicated professionals, the hospice will provide respite and terminal care for families.
The North East has the lowest number of hospice beds for children in the country and Grace House hopes to become a “home from home” for thousands of families.
The hospice will be self-contained with “bright, homely rooms” for children and accommodation for families.
It will provide a much-needed addition to existing services, giving parents a break, a chance to share their time with other children in the family and discuss their concerns.
The hospice will include children’s en-suite bedrooms, a family living room, consultation and physiotherapy room, assisted bathroom, nurse station, sensory room, library and music room.
It will also feature a bereavement suite, family bedrooms and living room, dining room with a cyber cafe and “teen den”.
There will also be a computer and technology area and a quiet room, as well as offices, nursing and fund-raising staff facilities.
For more information call 516 6302, or visit www.gracehouse.co.uk