Maggie’s South East Wales designed by Caerphilly born architect receives planning approval

Maggie’s, the charity which provides practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, has been granted planning permission to build a new Maggie’s Centre alongside the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. The Centre has been designed by award-winning architects Alun Jones, who is originally from Caerphilly, and Biba Dow of Dow Jones Architects.

Working in partnership with the Velindre Cancer Centre, the new Maggie’s Centre will significantly enhance the cancer support already offered to the 1.5million people treated at the Centre from Cardiff, Newport and beyond. Patients will be able to access Maggie’s evidence-based programme of free practical, emotional and social support, which has been developed to complement medical treatment and includes drop-in sessions with cancer support specialists, benefits advice, nutrition workshops and relaxation classes.

Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee said:

“We are delighted that planning permission has been granted as it brings us a step closer to Maggie’s South East Wales becoming a reality. The Centre will be situated in a beautiful location surrounded by green space, with Dow Jones Architects and Cleve West’s inspirational designs ensuring that the landscape will be reflected throughout the building. Their designs promise to create a calm and uplifting environment for everyone that visits the Centre. We look forward to fundraising starting in earnest to ensure we can fulfil our ambition to provide the highest quality cancer support to the people of South East Wales.”

Simon Dean, Chief Executive of Velindre NHS Trust, said:

“We are committed to the highest standards of care and services at Velindre Cancer Centre for our patients in South Wales. I am very excited by the prospect of working closely with a range of partners to realise our vision of a world class cancer campus which meets the individual needs of each patient. Maggie’s Centres are renowned for providing cancer patients and their families with high quality, expert support services and our partnership with the charity demonstrates our shared desire to provide excellent and seamless services to patients.”

The Centre will be warm and welcoming, full of light and open space, located in a mature garden with views over the surrounding landscape, and built from the same sandstone as the nearby hills.

Alun Jones, of Dow Jones Architects said:

“We are thrilled that Maggie’s South East Wales has received planning approval. It is a great experience to be working with Maggie’s, using the charity’s broad vision and vast experience of helping people with cancer, to create a Maggie’s Centre of the highest quality in South East Wales. We are especially delighted to be working in Cardiff; the hospital is only a few miles from where I grew up”.

Biba Dow, of Dow Jones Architects adds:

“Our designs are inspired by the local Welsh landscape and ancient building techniques. The Centre will sit amongst the trees with the exterior built in the style of an old stone farm wall to create a calm and welcoming space. The colour of the materials we have chosen resonates with the bracken of the surrounding hills, with rusty iron oxide in the pennant sandstone and copper glass roof lights which drop light down into the bigger rooms. The interior will be lined with fragrant cedarwood, creating a range of spaces reflecting traditional Welsh architecture including a large kitchen and hall with a fireplace to bring people together, alongside smaller rooms for consultations and secluded areas where people can sit quietly. All the rooms overlook an internal courtyard which is being planted with moss and fern.”

To complement Dow Jones Architects design, the surrounding gardens have been designed by RHS Gold Medallist Cleve West, who has built a reputation for innovative garden landscapes; his creative use of space and harmonious planting puts him at the forefront of contemporary garden design in the UK. The building and the landscape will have an intimate relationship, with the different rooms grouped around a central courtyard and opening into woodland gardens with spaces to grow food and walk among the trees.

Cleve West comments:

“I’m delighted to be part of this exciting project. The site is blessed with a variety of mature ornamental and woodland trees which already provide a special atmosphere. I’m hoping that, with the right mix of ornamentals and native plants we can accentuate this beautiful setting and create a diverse and interesting landscape to compliment the new Maggie’s Centre.”

Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional well-being. The Centre is anticipated to receive up to 20,000 visits a year once established across the South Wales cancer network. Maggie’s South East Wales will be the second Maggie’s Centre in Wales following on from Maggie’s Swansea, which opened in 2011.

There are already 17 Maggie’s Centres across the UK, online and abroad and all are designed by leading architects. Each architect offers a unique interpretation of the same brief, based on the needs of a person living with cancer, to create the calm environments so important to the people who visit and work in the Centres.

Maggie’s South East Wales needs £4.5 million to create the Centre with money raised entirely from voluntary contributions. For further information and to get involved in fundraising please visit www.maggiescentres.org/southeastwales.