FAIR Havens Hospice is one step closer to smashing its fundraising target after landing a huge £450,000 grant.

The St James’s Place Charitable Foundation has awarded the grant to the new hospice, which is being constructed on the old Ekco site in Priory Crescent, Prittlewell, opposite Priory Park.

Havens Hospices had a mission to raise £17.2million for the new Fair Havens Hospice building, which will care for twice as many people as the old hospice.

The charity urged communities and businesses in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford a year ago to throw their support behind raising the remaining £2.5million.

There is now just £400,000 left to raise ahead of the new Fair Havens hospice being opened in spring 2020, marking a huge milestone for the charity.

Louise Gloyne, director of the capital appeal for the new Fair Havens hospice, said: “We’ve been bowled over by this donation.

“We have been working with St James’s Place Charitable Foundation, discussing the project and the difference it will make to thousands of local people who need hospice care.

“We’re delighted that they have decided to make an incredible contribution now we have just passed the half-way mark of construction.”

Havens Hospices started building the new Fair Havens Hospice near Priory Park in October last year and work is on schedule – with the charity announcing last month it had officially hit its half way point.

Barnes Construction –which is building the hospice for patients from across Southend, Rochford and Castle Point – has now finished installing the roof trusses for the in-patient unit and is now setting sights on the day hospice and wellbeing centre.

The new hospice will replace Fair Havens hospice in Chalkwell Avenue, Westcliff.

Based in a large old house, the current hospice has become unsuitable.

Once the new hospice is built, the property will be sold for development.

The new Fair Havens Hospice is set to open in spring of next year.

To make a gift or a contribution towards the furniture and fittings of the new Fair Havens, please visit www.fairhavensforlife.co.uk or call 01702 220305.

The charity will also support local people in holding their own fundraising events to help contribute towards the final fundraising total.