NI Hospice has cared for thousands of people and their families in the old Victorian building on Somerton Road for the past three decades. However, it is no longer fit for purpose and the hospice's many supporters have been have been fundraising for a replacement.The full cost of the redevelopment scheme to deliver the new facilities on the Somerton site is £13m. At present, £2.6m must be raised to complete the rebuild.Hailed as being the first Dementia friendly hospice in the UK and Ireland, it has been designed to care for people with complex care needs and the growing numbers of people in need of end of life care.The new facility will provide 18 much needed specialist palliative care beds, and a physiotherapy and occupational therapy facility.Peaceful gardens, a children and relatives area, a sanctuary and Chaplain's room and space where patients and families can relax together will also be incorporated in the new build.A bright and spacious Day Hospice will provide therapies, activities and access to an outpatient clinic and an Education and Research centre will be situated in a separate wing to support NI Hospice in advancing the quality of hospice care provided throughout Northern Ireland.Professor Dame Judith Hill, Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, said: "Today we mark an important milestone in the journey to revolutionise hospice care in Northern Ireland as we take our first steps towards realising the dream of a purpose-built adult hospice at Somerton Road."This is so much more than a building; the new Northern Ireland Hospice will provide the foundations from which we will build a legacy of hospice care for generations to come."We are making preparations for a future that includes caring for wider disease groups beyond cancer to ensure that patients with non-malignant diseases such as respiratory, dementia and neurological conditions receive the specialist care they deserve at the end of their life," she said."This new building, and the research and education that will be conducted here will help us to shape the future of hospice care for the changing needs of our population."