THE first stage of refurbishment at York's St Leonard's Hospice has been completed.

The hospice's day care centre, which welcomes people from their own homes for a day of social care and companionship, has been made over with new windows and skylights to bring extra lights into the building, new furniture, and a complete redecoration.

Redevelopment of the hospice, in Tadcaster Road, is being funded by a grant of more than £400,000 from the Department of Health, and from two legacies given to the hospice in the last 12 months. It is the first major upgrading of the hospice since the £2 million Millennium Project.

Janet Morley, director of fundraising at the hospice and lead on the redevelopment project, said: "Once the work is complete the hospice, parts of which were built for our initial opening almost 30 years ago, will be fully up to date and full of air and light.

"The completed day care area is a great success, and we know that this major project will result in a building in which our vital work can continue to serve the people of York and the surrounding area."

The next phase of upgrading the hospice is already underway will see improvements made to the family area and the children’s room, with a new, higher ceiling to give more atmosphere to the hospice chapel.

Work will also take place to see all the patient bedrooms in the in-patient unit refitted, and bathrooms converted into wet-rooms, to make them accessible to all patients.