AN URGENT appeal by Cotswold Care Hospice has raised more than £10,000 so far.

The charity needs £55,000 to ensure an extension to its creative therapy services can go ahead.

The hospice was pledged a £116,000 Department of Health grant in April, enough to pay for two thirds of the work.

Now it must raise the final £55,000 in time to ensure it hits the Department of Health deadline. Construction work is due to start this month (June).

“We must spend the Department of Health grant within this financial year. That means we need to start building in June and thus why this appeal is so urgent,” said Jules Eaton, chief executive of Cotswold Care Hospice.

Within the first week of the appeal more than £10,000 was donated. Mr Eaton said the charity was delighted with the support.

“It’s an incredible start and we cannot thank the community enough. But we have a long way to go to hit our target. Even a donation of £5 will make a difference,” said Mr Eaton.

The extension at the hospice in Minchinhampton, near Stroud, would allow the charity, which provides all its services free of charge, to develop its range of creative therapies including music, drama and creative writing.

Therapeutic art helps people with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses - and their carers - to cope with anxiety, depression and trauma. The hospice also offers Art for Health, which is providing one-to-one therapy deal with specific issues.

Former patient Ruth Cornish knows first-hand how important that creative therapy can be. The 46-year-old human resources consultant from Uley attended day hospice when she was being treated for cancer in the winter of 2011/2012.

“The art room at Cotswold Care Hospice was a joyful, positive and peaceful place to be in, away from the mad world of treatment and doctors and angst from other people," she said.

“I made about five stained glass pictures alongside people who were terminally ill but oh so cheerful and creative - or those a bit shocked and stunned like me - but on our way back out into the big wide world and living."

Send cheques payable to Cotswold Care Hospice to Cotswold Care Hospice, FREEPOST SWC2421, Burleigh Lane, Minchinhampton, GL5 2BF or donate online