A HOSPICE providing end-of-life care and support is planning to close its Tendring day centre, it has been revealed.

St Helena Hospice’s Tendring Centre, in Jackson Road, Clacton, has provided a range of day therapies and bereavement support since 2002.

It recently became home to a small shop selling a range of donated items.

Despite an increase in demand for its services, hospice bosses are looking to shut the centre and sell the building.

Mark Jarman-Howe, chief executive, said the building is too big for the charity’s needs, with less than 40 per cent of the centre’s capacity in use.

He added financial difficulties were starting to take their toll on the hospice.

“We need to be much more open about the challenges we face,” he said.

“We are facing an unprecedented rise in demand for the care and support we offer.

“There is a big increase in the elderly population in Tendring.

“We are also having to compete much harder then ever before with fundraising.

“Last year was the first year for a while in which we raised less than the previous year. We are facing less of a contribution from the NHS.

“It is fair to say we are not comfortable with our financial position.

“If we do nothing, it will cause us big problems in the next few years - we will be in trouble.

“If we begin to take some of these measures and we get backing, our future will be secure.”

The hospice insists it will continue to offer the same bereavement support and therapy to residents, but using other premises around the district.

The charity is set to enter a planning application seeking permission to change the use of the centre into a mix of residential and leisure.

If permission is granted, the hospice is “confident” of being offered a good price and it would close the centre at the end of March.

Mr Jarman-Howe added: “Developing this proposal has not been easy. We recognise just how much the Tendring Centre has meant to patients and families, staff, volunteers and supporters over the years, and understand there will be a lot of sadness that we are considering this.

“Whatever the outcome, we remain committed to protecting the hospice care delivered locally to the people of Clacton and Tendring.”