A pioneering £4.8 million hospice has been officially unveiled to the public this week – after years of fundraising by the charity behind the new building.

“The aim of this place is to be comfortable. There is a real emphasis on warmth, light and calm and making people feel special when they are here. It is a very special place,” said Jo Woolf, the CEO of The South Bucks Community Hospice, which provides palliative care for those with life-limiting illnesses.

The 15,000-square foot three-storey Butterfly House, sited on the former Kingswood School site in Totteridge Lane, High Wycombe, has put all of the charity’s services under one roof after years of operating out of two houses on Amersham Road as well as Cedar Barn in Hazelmere.

While the previous hospice was “enormously successful”, Jo says they needed to expand to meet the needs of a growing – and ageing – population.

“This is a building for the future so it is more flexible and responsive to needs. The world is changing very fast around us. The brief was to build a facility that would leave a terrific legacy and support the changing needs of the community.

“We serve over 320,000 people covering a large catchment area. According to research, there will be a dramatic increase in people aged 65 and over in our county. We are planning the services that we will need for tomorrow.”

The state-of-the-art hospice features a physio room, a day room where patients can paint or listen to music, a kitchen and dining room.

Patients – and their families – can also relax in the wellbeing room, where a hairdresser and a makeup artist can provide treatments, or enjoy a massage in the complimentary therapy room.

It also includes a dedicated space for young adults, aged 16-28, with life-limiting illnesses and features televisions, games consoles and disability-friendly computers.

Jo – a former nurse - said: “We have a growing number of young people being diagnosed with cancer and they are going to live for a long time with their illness – and where will they go for clinical and psychological support?

“When a young person comes out of children’s services, they go straight into adult services. I cannot think of anything more depressing than being a 17 or 18-year-old in adult services. This will be a haven for them.

“We want to give young people a place to be where their parents know they are safe and don’t have to worry about them.”

One aspect of the new hospice which Jo is “particularly proud” of is the Lymphoedema clinic. Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling, usually of the arms and legs, caused by a malfunction of the lymphatic system - normally as a result of cancer or other life-limiting illnesses.

The hospice provides the only free Lymphoedema treatment in the south of the county.

Jo said: “The therapy is a supportive treatment. You’re doing a massage that follows the lymphatic system and then putting a bandage on to help it stay at that size. It is an expensive treatment because it is not a one-off – you need anywhere between one and 25 sessions. If you have it done privately, it can cost £70 to £120 an hour.

“I am proud of all our services, but particularly proud of this one because we work so closely with GPs.”

High Wycombe mother-of-three Tina Clark suffered from cervical cancer in 2001 and had her lymph glands removed as a result. She began attending the clinic in 2005 after the swelling in her legs became a major problem and still visits twice a year.

She said: “I think what they do is fantastic. Without them, I think a lot of people wouldn’t be able to function.”

While the charity is going from strength to strength in its new home, they still “desperately” need volunteers to help them, whether it is driving patients to and from the hospice, or helping to run the new Butterfly Café on site.

If you can help, call the fundraising team on 01494 552761 or email volunteer@sbhospice.org.uk.