On Wednesday 13th December, we ground on a new multi-million Pound facility to cater for its service users beyond the age of 19.

The construction of the facility, located alongside the existing hospice in Trentham, will be funded by The Denise Coates Foundation and will be named the “Denise Coates Foundation Building.”

Dot Gillespie, Director of Care Services at The Donna Louise said: “Until recently, we weren’t able to support young people beyond their 19th birthday. So rather than a milestone to look forward to, approaching adulthood became a time of great stress and uncertainty for our families.

We therefore made a game-changing decision to expand our services to include our teens as they become adults.”

Speaking about the urgent need for this service, Dot said: “Transition into adulthood affects everything that families know, and much of the support they have counted on since their child was born is no longer available to them in an adult services world. The Denise Coates Foundation Service for Young Adults at The Donna Louise enables us to be there for our children, young adults and their families as long as they need us.”

The new building will provide facilities for day care and overnight respite, and will encourage independent living as much as possible for the young adults. There will also be the space to offer a wide range of physical and emotional therapies.

Denise Coates CBE commented: “It is 18 months since the Foundation’s initial involvement with the project. Since then we have seen the plans develop and evolve into what will be a state-of-the-art facility.

“With construction work about to start, the project is taking a huge leap forward as the plans become a reality. A milestone has been reached and soon the young adults that are so well served by The Donna Louise as children will be able to benefit from continuity of care, support and friendship in an environment specifically designed for them and their needs.

“I am thrilled that the Denise Coates Foundation has been able to be a part of this, and I am immensely proud that the Foundation’s name will continue to be associated with the building and the service it will enable The Donna Louise to provide.”

Professor Sue Read, Chair of The Donna Louise Board of Trustees, said “This is by far the biggest single change to the charity since it opened. As a charity, we rely almost entirely on donations and fundraising to run our services at a cost of £3.5 million a year. Once the new facility opens, we expect that amount to rise to £4.5 million a year, making our need for donations even greater.

“We cannot thank the Denise Coates Foundation enough for this very generous support, which means that we can forge ahead with our plans to deliver a meaningful service to our young adults as soon as possible.”

19-year-old Chloe Wilkes said, “The Donna Louise has allowed me to be myself and I’m so excited that the decision was made to extend the services so I get support after I’m 19. It’s amazing and it’s so good that I just haven’t got any words to describe how it feels - like all my Christmas’s and birthdays have come at once. I just can’t wait for the new building to be built- I don’t know what I would do if The Donna Louise wasn’t there any more – there’s always someone there and now I know that they’ll always be there too that’s such a wonderful feeling!"

The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.