After four months of refurbishment the Burton Centre in Haverhill is a place utterly transformed.
The building next to the town’s library in Camps Road has been undergoing an extensive revamp since early January ready for it to become St Nicholas Hospice Care’s first ever community outreach centre.
Work has been set back slightly by an issue with the installation of the lift, but everything is now back on track to be officially opened on May 31.
The Echo was invited to have a tour of the new-look building, which apart from some finishing touches and the installation of some furnishings is all but ready for use.
Once open, it will be a breakthrough moment for the hospice, as Mandy Wilson, the centre’s manager, explained: “It’s a big thing for the hospice because it’s the first one (outreach centre) for them and the first for Suffolk and because it’s the first one and it’s coming to Haverhill it’s a big thing for Haverhill.”
The removal of an interior wall has created a spacious, airy reception area to greet visitors and is a room that typifies the bright and cheerful feel of the entire building.
The registrar has still been based in the building throughout the refurbishment, but once the centre opens they will be found every Thursday in a room next to the reception.
Local Rainbows, Guides and Brownies resumed using the new-look community room as of Monday (28), an amenity that will continue to be available to the public.
The centre’s Haven Café is now located where the Sunflower Café used to be and has been furnished using items from the charity’s own shops. It will open from 9.30am to 12,30pm, Monday to Friday as of May 31.
Upstairs, in what was formerly a room used for community education, is the Chestnut Day Therapy Room.
Here, people will be able to meet clinicians for advice, have complementary therapy and be able to meet other people in the same situation as them.
Mandy explained more: “It’s much more about the social aspect and being able to talk through different things that others are having the same concerns about.
“The whole centre is seen as more of a social area than clinical area, it’s about bringing people together more and we know that placing the facilities in the heart of the community is going to play a part in improving people’s lives here.”
The first floor also has two counselling rooms; Spruce and Cypress, named after the trees outside the building, the Sycamore complementary therapy room and the administration office.
To maximise the centre’s effectiveness the hospice wants to hear the community’s views on what services they would like to see at the centre.
Mandy said: “We want people’s views, what do they want.
“If there’s something they want, come and tell us. We want to work with the community and find out what works for them.”
And, although the centre’s has 20 volunteers for the reception, ten for the café plus four voluntary complementary therapists, more volunteers are always needed.