£12m children's hospice to open its doors next month

A NEW £12 million hospice for terminally ill children is to open in North Somerset next month. Charlton Farm in Wraxall is the second centre to be opened

A NEW £12 million hospice for terminally ill children is to open in North Somerset next month.Charlton Farm in Wraxall is the second centre to be opened by the charity Children's Hospice South West (CHSW) and will provide respite care for 200 families with children with life limiting illnesses each year.The hospice, nestled in what was once part of the Tyntesfield Estate, has taken five years to come to fruition and will officially welcome its first families on April 30.The first hospice, Little Bridge House in Barnstaple, Devon, was set up by charity founders Jill and Eddie Farwell, and has been running for 10 years.The decision to open a second hospice came because of the growing number of families using Little Bridge House.CHSW Director of Fundraising, George Cameron, said: "Our philosophy is not to just care for the child, but the whole family. We want to provide a home-from-home environment for the family and offer care and support not only to the child but to the parents and the siblings."Building work started at the hospice in March 2005 and has seen a former farmhouse, buttery and outbuildings turned into a state of the art complex with special living accommodation for families, a spa room and a special teenagers room.It will be fitted with wide screen televisions, DVDs and music system and will be a place where ill youngsters and their teenage siblings can 'chill out.'The hospice also has a multi-sensory room, an activities room which will be filled with computers and a winter garden room which will be used as a tranquil spot to sit and chat.The dining room, next to the new kitchen, can seat up to 40 people with all meals being provided by hospice staff to take the strain off families.A balcony, which enjoys views across the Wraxall countryside, is also accessible from all of the family accommodation. The site also incorporates a Victorian swimming pool, once used by students attending the neighbouring Downs School.So far, 20,000 people have visited Charlton Farm ahead of its opening next month.The charity, which is supported entirely by fund-raising and donations, will have to raise £6million each year to fund both Charlton Farm and Little Bridge House.

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