Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has welcomed the opening of the new Environment-Centre for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. To be known as the E-Centre, it is situated in Byng Road, High Barnet and replaces the Countryside Centre which has provided educational opportunities for Barnet children for many years. Theresa attended the official opening this weekend.
The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is a charity based in Barnet. Their aim is to allow children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses to lead lives which are as full as they possibly can be. They also provide support for their families, including respite care. The charity supports children and families across Barnet, Camden, Haringey, Hertsmere, Enfield, and Islington in a range of settings, but does not yet have their own dedicated hospice facility.
The E-Centre is the first stage of Noah's Ark's plans for their eight acre Byng Road property. It will be used to host workshops and classes for schoolchildren led by the voluntary group, the Friends of Barnet Environment Centre, as well as hosting care-related events and meetings. The next stage of construction on the site is building the new hospice facility but only when further funds are raised.
During March, a community garden was prepared outside the centre with local volunteers from Noah’s Ark and the Friends of Barnet Countryside clearing the ground of rubble and weeds to make way for a lawn and flower beds, to be encircled by a wheelchair-friendly path.
Theresa Villiers said: “It was brilliant to attend the opening of the new Environment Centre for Noah’s Ark. The charity does incredible work, in and outside my constituency, to help families who need it most. I have been supporting Noah's Ark for many years and I am proud join them to celebrate this milestone in their journey towards delivering a new hospice. Many Barnet children benefited from events and classes at the old Countryside Centre but it was getting increasingly dilapidated. It is great that these environmental education programmes will carry on in this excellent new building. I pay tribute to Noah's Ark for making it happen and also to the Hadley Trust because their generous donation made this all possible."
Noah’s Ark chief executive Ru Watkins said, “Opening our E-Centre marks the first build on our new hospice site. The first bud in our plans to build a bespoke hospice, its architectural quality and beauty represent a tiny preview of our vision for the hospice building.
“Our charity was created by the community to provide better care to our local families. We continue to thrive thanks to the community’s hard work and generosity. And we urge our supporters to keep finding new ways to help us, as volunteers or fundraisers.
“We thank everyone who came along to share the special day with us.”