A CHILDREN'S hospice has announced it will close its doors at the end of this month due to "insufficient funds."

"Rising costs of care" and inadequate funding from the NHS were cited as reasons behind the imminent closure of Grace's Place in Radcliffe.

The hospice building in Dumers Lane will be vacated by the end of August, with a total of 11 employees and several volunteers affected by the closure.

Forget Me Not Children's Hospice — the charity which oversees Grace's Place — held a staff consultation over the termination of services throughout July.

However, the CEO said it was "with deep regret" that the charity has been "unable to secure enough additional funding" to keep the site running.

In a statement, chief executive Luen Thompson said: "I am very sad to have to announce that Grace’s Place in Bury will now close.

"Despite extensive media coverage, support from local politicians and council members and generous offers of support from the community, we have not been able to secure enough additional funding to keep our doors open and continue to deliver services to local families at Grace’s Place.

"We have agreed with all of the families on our caseload how they want to be supported in the future and transition arrangements are being put in place.

"We deeply regret having to make this decision. But I am grateful that we have been able to close the service in a planned way ensuring we meet our responsibilities to staff, volunteers and families.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in trying to develop our Bury children’s hospice, particularly the team at Grace’s Place who continue to be there for our families and continue to secure support for Forget Me Not."

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A total of 17 children and their families, who are currently being cared for at Grace's Place, have been offered alternative services at Forget Me Not's Huddersfield site, and through its hospice at home provision, with "almost all of them" opting to do so.

Families will be offered access to the hospice's transport fund to help them cover travel costs to access alternative services.

Forget Me Not "endeavoured to continue to support" five families who are receiving perinatal care services, seven families accessing counselling, and four families in receipt of music therapy services.

Grace's Place provided accommodation for families as well as a sensory room, hydrotherapy pool, therapy room, counselling rooms, play area and garden.

Princess Beatrice, Forget Me Not's royal patron, visited the hospice in November 2017 to meet with some of the families who would benefit from its services.

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Equipment and toys are now being offered to families and other children's hospices.

Luen Thompson said: "In this way, all of the equipment donated or paid for by our supporters will still benefit children with life limiting conditions, many of whom live in the Greater Manchester area."

Forget Me Not said running costs so far this year were £270,000 for three days a week and alternate Saturdays — and would total more than £1million for a whole year.

Bury Clinical Commissioning Group provided 15 per cent of the annual income, which was expected to be reduced to 7.5 per cent next year.

Running costs were also supported by a £20,000 profit from the charity's local hospice shops, £34,000 from revenue grant funders and £120,000 from charitable donations. However, this left a £56,000 shortfall.

The Grace’s Place charity was set up in 2013 as part of a partnership between Bury Hospice and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. The hospice was initially scheduled to open in October 2014, but suffered a number of severe setbacks, falling into £359,000 of debt.

In June 2017, the trustees announced that Forget Me Not Children's Hospice would be taking over the hospice, with the view to support up to 650 children with life-shortening conditions across Bury, Oldham and Rochdale.

It wasn't until January this year that the hospice began providing in-house care in addition to its at home services.

The consultation over the closure of Grace's Place was announced on July 1 — just four days before an official opening celebration was due to take place.