Handover of new hospice for Southend marked with the laying of a time capsule

After 65 weeks, construction of Southend’s only adult hospice has finished and officially marked with the laying of a time capsule in the grounds at Priory Crescent in Prittlewell.

The new £17.2 million facility was officially handed over to Chief Executive of Havens Hospices, Steve Smith at an event on Friday 28th February attended by members of the construction team and staff of Fair Havens Hospice.

Designed by LSI Architects and built by Barnes Construction, the new building provides a modern hospice with 16 in-patient bedrooms, increased Day Hospice services and additional family support, which means it can care for twice as many patients and families and offer more treatments and support more families in a welcoming and therapeutic environment.

Mr Smith says, “This new adult hospice for Southend has been many years in the planning. However, thanks to Barnes Construction they were able to bring the plans to life in just 15 months along with LSI Architects and Studio 31 which designed the outside space.

“This official handover of the building from Barnes Construction to Havens Hospices is the culmination of the hard work of hundreds of people from both organisations, from fundraisers to builders and dozens of other trades in between.

“It’s an honour to be here marking this occasion by burying a time capsule which not only contains memories of our past hospice care but our hopes for the future.”

Mark Hart, Joint MD for Barnes Construction adds, “The construction team has worked extremely hard to hand over the building as promised. We now send our good wishes to Havens Hospices and hope that this excellent facility now enables them to care and support more patients and their families in the local community.”

Louise Knights from LSI Architects played a key role in creating the design of the new hospice. She said, “Fair Havens has been designed to be a welcoming place, creating a calming and therapeutic environment with a strong connection into the gardens.

“The new building embraces the Fair Havens values and by designing it with the charity’s team we have created something they can be proud of, that enables them to give their patients the care that they need.”

The time capsule – which will be situated in the grounds marked by the original stained glass lighthouse from the previous building – contains hundreds of messages from supporters who made a donation during the fundraising appeal, as well as photos and a signed copy of the plans from Barnes Construction. A special message that was included came from Pearl Naylor MBE, the charity’s longest serving volunteer. Pearl, 94 from Southend, began volunteering even before the original Fair Havens opened.

Pearl, who will continue volunteering at the new building in Prittlewell, said, “I started off doing table top sales to raise money and on my last day at the old hospice on Chalkwell Avenue I swept the floors and said goodbye to the building.

“I feel lucky to be a part of Fair Havens, and to be a part of this ceremony. I hope that the new hospice continues making every day count for our patients and families. This is a new era and a new start for us all.”

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Staff and volunteers from Havens Hospices with Barnes Construction holding the time capsule