Constructed on the site of a former 19th century cotton mill, the idea behind The Mill in St Catherine’s Park is to provide information, therapies and support for families experiencing serious illness.
In a relaxed café environment, The Mill will encourage and reassure people to help themselves and each other to live more comfortably and independently.
The Mill Café has the aim of bringing a sense of normality, at the same time as helping to dispel feelings of anxiety that many people have about hospices.
In addition, rooms can be hired by local groups and businesses to host everything from craft sessions to management meetings.
Construction works, which commenced in November 2013, included demolition, installation of a new roof, windows and lift; erection of block walls, partitions and suspended ceilings; and internal decoration and fit out, as well as vinyl and carpet floor finishes.
Essential work to extend car parks is being carried out by The Ainscough Group and construction of a vital new footbridge is being undertaken as part of project from Preston North and South Rotary Clubs.
The project, funded largely by grants and special awards, will operate as a social enterprise, with profits ploughed back into the specialised care of St Catherine’s Hospice.
Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “The Mill is a pioneering new resource which is set to benefit people on many different levels – from a listening ear and friendly face offering relevant advice, to a place to meet friends or host a business meeting.
“Fundraising is particularly tough at this time, so we need The Mill to attract new supporters to help us generate the millions we need to care for local people facing cancer, motor neurone disease and other life-shortening illnesses.”
The project was supported by Sleater & Watson, Thornber and Walker and Beech Jackson Partnership.
“We are extremely grateful to all those local businesses who have brought their skills and expertise to this project,” Stephen said.
Mark Smith, construction manager at Eric Wright Special Projects, said: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to work on this project for the hospice, from start to completion it has been an excellent team effort from the client, designers to all the sub-contract trades involved working together to produce this excellent facility which will be a huge success for St Catherine’s.”
Alistair Baines, chairman at Cassidy + Ashton, added: “We are proud to have been involved with this project which has brought back to life an old redundant farm building and provided a modern facility which I know will become a valuable resource in the local area.”
Set within the newly named St Catherine’s Park, the new venture will welcome the community into the grounds – breaking down barriers and the sense of isolation that patients sometimes feel.
Stephen concluded: “The Mill will give people a reason to call by – we’re looking forward to welcoming our wonderful supporters in for a St Catherine’s blend coffee very soon!”