A brand-new Maggie’s Centre in Wirral is set to start helping its first cancer patients from early spring 2021.
Maggie’s Merseyside is being built within the grounds of Clatterbridge Health Park and will support people living with cancer across Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.
The Steve Morgan Foundation is building Maggie’s Merseyside and a new Maggie’s at the Royal Liverpool Hospital at a cost of more than £5m.
The Steve Morgan Foundation is a long-term supporter of Maggie’s having committed more than £8m to the charity including £3m in 2020 from the Community Match Challenge Fund alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Kathy Wright, centre head of Maggie’s Merseyside, said: “Building work on Maggie’s Merseyside has continued to develop well despite the challenges of the current pandemic and we hope to be providing support from our new centre in the spring 2021.
“The builders are Carroll Ltd and they’ve shown dedication and enthusiasm to ensure our centre progresses and we’ve had ongoing communication with both them and the Steve Morgan Foundation throughout.
“The new centre is much bigger than the current facility so will enable us to provide much more support to more people.
“Everyone is really excited about the opening of Maggie’s Merseyside. It will be wonderful to have a permanent centre here on the Wirral. We’re all extremely excited as we wait for the moment we can start supporting people from the new centre.
“The centre visitors, local hospital teams and the community are eager to access the new facilities as well as receiving support in the surroundings of a truly uplifting and inspiration building.”
All the Maggie’s centres are based alongside NHS hospitals and provide free support without the need for an appointment or a referral.
They’re run by expert staff who help people live well with cancer.
During the pandemic Maggie’s centres have remained open to see people by appointment and limited drop-ins for those who are visiting hospitals, while following all guidelines.
The architecture of the Maggie’s building is vital and has been designed to feel like a home from home rather than like a hospital with a kitchen table at the heart.
The existing interim facility at Clatterbridge, which will be replaced by the new building, was built in 2014 for 3,000 visits a year but has been attracting more than 17,000 as demand has soared.
Kathy said: “The new purpose-built centre will provide more space, which means when possible our professional staff will be able to deliver more of core programme, courses and support groups.
“There are 18,000 new cancer diagnoses every year in Merseyside and Cheshire alone, Maggie’s Merseyside is hoping to be everyone’s home of cancer care across Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, not only for the new diagnoses but for people living with and beyond cancer, along with their friends and families.”
Maggie’s Merseyside is being built in the same way as all 24 Maggie’s across the UK and the three abroad.
Kathy said the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation has been critical.
“Our partnership with the Steve Morgan Foundation is hugely important,” she said. “Their support is allowing us to build two brand new Maggie’s centres in Merseyside, the first to replace the much used and much loved Maggie’s Merseyside interim centre on the grounds of the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Wirral site and the second to be developed on the grounds of the New Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city centre, ensuring our support can reach as many people as possible.
“However, we are also incredibly grateful for the £3m from the Community Match Challenge Fund as this has allowed us to ensure people across England have the psychological support, they need now more than ever.”
Steve Morgan CBE, chairman of the Steve Morgan Foundation, and his wife Sally attended a socially-distanced topping out ceremony at the centre in September.
He said: “I’m really excited by the opening of the new centre and our involvement goes far beyond funding. We’ve also been responsible for the planning, design and construction, which is very unusual for a Foundation.”
A second Maggie’s centre funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation will be built in the grounds of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city centre and it’s hoped construction work can begin in 2022.