FOLLOWING the closure of Grace's Place children's hospice in Radcliffe, plans are being made for the future of the vacated building.

The premises in Dumers Lane is owned by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, who were renting the building to Forget Me Not Children's Hospice, who ran Grace's Place.

Pennine Care, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people across Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Glossop, Stockport and Trafford, say they are "keen to ensure the building is put to good use".

A Pennine Care Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “We’re very saddened that the Grace’s Place hospice in Bury has been forced to close because of funding issues.

"We had been renting the building that houses Grace’s Place to the Forget Me Not charity since July 2017 for a peppercorn rent.

"Now that they no longer need it we are keen to ensure it’s put to good use and we’re working with the local CCG to make plans for the future which we hope to share by the end of the year.”

In August, Forget Me Not confirmed that they would be closing the hospice due to a lack of funding.

Millions of pounds had been invested in the premises and services that had begun to be provided. The Radcliffe hospice served children with life-shortening conditions across Bury, Oldham and Rochdale via a hospice at home service as well as providing accommodation at the Dumers Lane facility.

Grace's Place was initially scheduled to open in 2014 but suffered a number of severe setbacks, falling into £359,000 of debt.

Despite fundraising efforts, generous donations, and Bolton contractors Seddon writing off £270,000 they were owed by the charity for alterations and refurbishment of the Dumers Lane facility, bosses said they still faced a £56,000 shortfall in July this year, which they blamed on insufficient funding from the NHS.

A staff consultation was held and residents launched an online petition in a last-ditch attempt to save the hospice, but no rescue plan could be formed.

The building was vacated at the end of August.

Keith Waddington, director of legal, risk and compliance at Seddon, said: “We are extremely sad that Grace’s Place has closed.

“It’s a real shame that despite help from a number of parties, this facility has been lost.

"We hope that these children and their families are able to find support at other superb hospice facilities in and around the North West.”

Most of the equipment from the site has been moved to the charity's Huddersfield-based children's hospice.

This means that it will continue to be used in the care of children with life-shortening conditions and their families, including families from Grace's Place who have opted to continue to be supported by Forget Me Not.

Other equipment has been given to other children's hospices, including Derian House, and to families.

A spokeswoman for Forget Me Not Children's Hospice said: "Our hope is that the building continues to be used to support local children and families."