On Wednesday 1st May, The Donna Louise Hospice for Children & Young People welcomed Denise Coates CBE to formally open the Denise Coates Foundation Building.
The newly commissioned service, named ‘The Denise Coates Foundation Service for Young Adults at The Donna Louise,’ will operate from the purpose built, multi-million pound facility adjacent to the existing children’s hospice in Trentham. Construction and fit-out of the facility were wholly funded by a grant from the Foundation which has also committed substantial funding to support the service’s operating costs.
Simon Fuller, CEO at The Donna Louise said: “The opening of the Denise Coates Foundation Building is a hugely momentous occasion for The Donna Louise. The new building and service presents us with a wonderful opportunity to continue transforming the lives of the young adults who rely on The Donna Louise.”
Speaking about the urgent need for this service, Simon said: “Rather than a milestone to look forward to, approaching adulthood has historically been a time of great stress and uncertainty for the families who rely on our services, as much of the support they have counted on, often since early childhood, is no longer available to them. After hearing a family tell us that they almost hoped their child would die before reaching adulthood because they didn’t know how they would survive without the support of The Donna Louise, we knew that discharging our young people on their 19th birthday, as we’d been forced to do in the past, was no longer a reality we were prepared to accept.”
Simon continues, “The Denise Coates Foundation Service for Young Adults at The Donna Louise will allow our families to face an uncertain future safe in the knowledge that The Donna Louise will now be there for as long as they need us.”
The new service will provide specialist palliative and end of life care and support, as well as day care and overnight respite. It will facilitate and encourage independent living as much as possible, and will offer a wide range of emotional support therapies.
Denise Coates CBE commented: “In 2016 The Donna Louise approached the Foundation and asked us to be a part of its plans to extend the reach of its services to people in its care beyond the age of 18. Since committing to the project we have shared the joy of seeing ideas become plans and plans become a building.
“Now we can celebrate the most thrilling stage of all. The state-of-the-art facility, purpose built to support the needs of young adults, is ready to welcome its first guests.”
Professor Sue Read, Chair of The Donna Louise Board of Trustees, said “With less than 9% of our funding coming from government sources, The Donna Louise has always relied on the generosity of the general public to help make our work possible. We simply could not, and would not exist without it. But, with ever-increasing demand for the services provided by the hospice, we need to raise more money than ever before.”
“We cannot thank the Denise Coates Foundation enough for their very generous support, and for enabling us to forge ahead with delivering a meaningful and much-needed service for our young adults, and their families.”
20 year-old Chloe Wilkes, who will benefit from the new service, said, “The Donna Louise has allowed me to be myself and I’m so excited that the Denise Coates Foundation Building is now open. It’s so good that I just haven’t got any words to describe how it feels - like all my Christmas’ and birthdays have come at once. 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!"