ANEW £600,000 extension to St Luke’s Hospice will be ready to take patients from next month.

Forest Gate Construction officially handed over the building to St Luke’s chief executive, Eileen Marshall, and Chris Cox, head of corporate services, after exterior building work was finished on Tuesday.

With interior work left, the hospice, off Nethermayne, Basildon, aims to open the new unit fully by the end of July.

The unit will have activity areas and offices for extended day hospice care and out-patient clinics, a specialist physiotherapy service, a new library, information area, and improved complementary therapies and clinical facilities.

The garden and parking areas have also been landscaped and all hospice services have continued during the building works.

The building was funded by a £510,000 grant from the Department of Health and £130,000 in other grants.

Mrs Marshall said: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in what has been and will be an exciting development for both St Luke’s and our community.

“I would like to commend the builders for their hard work and consideration.

“We are grateful to them for the way they have co-operated with us and all involved to ensure minimum disruption to our organisation.

“Staff and volunteers are looking forward to moving into the new building and are working to ensure the smooth introduction and expansion of services.”