A CANCER charity threatened with closure has secured funds to start work on new premises.
Wirral Holistic Care supports thousands of cancer patients across the region.
Last July staff were told the building they had occupied for 16 years, at St Catherine's Hospital, Birkenhead, was to be torn down.
Staff feared they would have to shut down altogether.
But they have now raised enough money to start converting a property in Claughton and hope to be in by December.
Chief executive Dorothy Crowther, a former nursing tutor at Clatterbridge centre for oncology, said: "We have finally found our dream property and can reassure people we are not going to close. We can carry on helping the thousands of cancer patients who come to us.
"The new building will have state-of-the-art facilities and allow us to expand. We will have 12 therapy rooms. It is an old detached house in Ashburton
Road and has lovely gardens. "People have been extremely anxious that we would have to close but we have worked to ensure that won't happen."
Wirral Holistic Care is the only centre in the UK offering holistic support free, specifically for cancer patients. It sees around 200 people a week.
The centre which opened in 1988 offers a range of complementary therapies, including reflexology, massage, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and counselling.
Although the charity has already raised £70,000, it will eventually need £800,000. An appeal is being launched next week with an initial target of £200,000.
Ms Crowther said: 'It is a lot of money and we have to raise it ourselves but we hope to be able to do it. We are the only centre of this kind in the country and thousands of people rely on us."
Staff criticised NHS executives for failing to consult them before any decision was taken about the future of the St Catherine's building. But money has now been set aside to help them set up the new centre.
Kathy Doran, chief executive of Birkenhead and Wallasey Primary Care Trust, said: "This will provide self-contained accommodation for the charity, which has long been their preferred solution.
"The PCT agreed to support rental costs for the next five years so that the charity will be able to redeem their mortgage at the end of that time. The PCT has also agreed to provide repayable assistance in the short term and to pay for reasonable removal costs.
"The proposed property has considerable advantages for WHCS. It allows them to realise their long-held ambition for self-contained premises."
Anyone wishing to help should contact Wirral Holistic Care, St Catherine's Hospital, CH42 0LQ.