World Cancer Day (4th February 2019) marked the day of breaking ground for a brand-new cancer support centre which will be based within Southampton General Hospital.
Maggie’s – a national charity with other Centres around the UK – provides practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are places with professional staff on hand to offer the support people need.
Being built in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital directly next to the oncology department – a leader in cancer research and a global centre of excellence -Maggie’s will complement the cancer treatments and research taking place at the hospital.
Each year, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHS) oncology unit sees over 5,000 people newly diagnosed with cancer and provides specialist cancer services to a population of around 3.2 million people across Hampshire, south Wiltshire, Dorset, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Wight and parts of West Sussex. It is estimated that once established in Southampton, Maggie’s will see approximately 20,000 visits each year from people of all ages and with any type of cancer.
Sharon O’Loan, Maggie’s Director of Fundraising, said: “Maggie’s is a really important place for people who are experiencing cancer as we complement the hospital – further to the exceptional treatment and care of patients they provide – and offer practical and emotional support for all those who need it.
“Maggie’s treats everyone as an individual and we help people with cancer, as well as their friends and family. We bring everything together to offer the best package of support from nutrition workshops, one-to-one sessions with psychologists, to bereavement support and money advice – whatever you need from us, we’re here to help.”
Dr Carol Davis, Lead Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Southampton General Hospital, added: “It will be fantastic to have a Maggie’s Centre within the hospital grounds. I’m particularly excited about the support that Maggie’s can give to patients and families facing complex decisions about treatment and care.”
What sets Maggie’s apart is the architecture, where it endeavours to create a calm environment which is so important to the people who visit and work in the Centre. The Southampton Centre has been designed by internationally-renowned architecture studio AL_A, led by RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete CBE, who have the vision to create a haven in the midst of the hospital’s concrete landscape.
To unify and enhance the building and its surrounds, AL_A are collaborating with Sarah Price, one of the most prominent garden designers in the UK whose gardens have an immersive quality and are often described as ‘painterly’.
Maximiliano Arrocet, Director of AL_A said: “Maggie’s Centres are ambitious with a purpose that can be felt and go to the very heart of architecture. Maggie’s’ approach is about creating a space that is uplifting and that changes the way people think about themselves and interact with others.
“The Centre creates an oasis in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital: a woodland glade seemingly transported from the nearby New Forest. Our Centre is a disappearing building, using minimal structure and movable partitions to frame spaces of varying privacy and enclosure that nonetheless remain connected to the landscape. We want there to be the strong sense that the garden has always been here, a natural haven that provides seclusion and protection from the outside world.”
Looking ahead to the opening of the Centre, which is expected in early 2020, Maggie’s is calling on local fundraisers and donors to help raise funds that will help cover the cost of running the Centre. One donation has already been agreed from the Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF), who has provided £140,000 to Maggie’s Southampton.
Tim Jobling, BMF Trustee, said: “Maggie’s is a wonderful organisation helping to support thousands of people with cancer and their families and I am delighted that a new Centre is opening at Southampton General Hospital. With this in mind, and with the Barker-Mill family strongly behind supporting organisations such as this, it was only right that we give such a generous donation to Maggie’s to help make it a reality.
“I would encourage everyone to get behind Maggie’s to donate and fundraise for this very special service which is going to touch the lives of so many people with cancer and their friends and families.”
For further information about Maggie’s, please visit: www.maggiescentres.org/our-centres/maggies-southampton/