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Goodyear workers give £1m to Wolverhampton Compton Hospice

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Compton Hospice today unveiled a major revamp courtesy of a £1million donation from generous Goodyear workers.

The Unite union branch of the ill-fated Wolverhampton firm, which is set close at the end of the year, will fund the entire scheme which will see a substantial redevelopment of the Compton Road West-based site and the arrival of a brand new building.

The money has been pledged from the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Sick and Distress Fund which is winding up after more than three decades.

Last year Goodyear made the devastating announcement that it was to close with with 330 jobs to be lost.

But it is hoped the seven-figure donation will create a lasting legacy helping to continue care for some of the city's most ill people.

Cyril Barrett, chairman of the Unite branch at Goodyear said: "In 1985, the trade union negotiated the establishment of a sick and distress fund, funded solely by shop floor rubber workers.

"At its height over 3,000 members were beneficiaries of the scheme.

Emma Reynolds MP, with Compton Hospice shop relief manager Scott Clarke, and Cyril Barrett, chair of Unite Goodyear branch(centre) and Goodyear workers and family members, with the cheque raised for Compton Hospice shop, Wednesfield, after the shop was damaged by fire last year

"Upon receiving the devastating news that Goodyear are to close its doors at the end of December 2016, the scheme's trustees and management committee sought legal advice and held consultation meetings with the members of the scheme.

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"It was then decided that all monies in the scheme should go to local registered charities, in the form of projects or equipment.

"The overwhelming view was that we should fund a project at Compton Hospice."

He added: "We are keen to create a lasting legacy to all members of the scheme whilst also supporting a charity that has served the population of Wolverhampton for many years," he said.

Work is expected to begin on the development in 2018.

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The most substantial part of the scheme will be a brand new building referred to as a Community Coordination Centre.

Its main purpose will be to coordinate referrals to the charity's range of support services including inpatient care, care in the home, daycare facilities and psychosocial care - the relationship between social factors and individual behaviours.

With all services sitting under one roof the hub will create a single point of access making it easier for patients, families, carers and healthcare professionals to access support from Compton Hospice.

The development will also mean the existing Grade II listed buildings which have become 'crumbled and weathered', can be restored.

Claire Marshall, charity chief executive, said: "It has been a long-held ambition to bring all of our services together to allow central co-ordination and create a more efficient and responsive service for our patients and their families.

"Building a new community hub will also allow us to carry out much needed updates and repairs to areas of our Grade II listed buildings that have sadly crumbled and weathered over the years.

"We have a beautiful design for the 5/344 Transport & General Workers Union Branch building which, subject to being granted planning permission, will bring this project to life ensuring this modern facility marries in tastefully with our beautiful traditional building."

"This is a significant and costly exercise which would not have been possible were it not for this incredibly generous donation from Unite members."

Talking of the partnership between Unite and the hospice Miss Marshall added: "It is poignant that a scheme set up by the trade union, that helped to support members in times of illness, will now be utilized by Compton Hospice to continue to support those with incurable illnesses across Wolverhampton.

"We are so incredibly grateful to members of the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Branch for their incredibly generous donation.

"This project will ensure the legacy of their great work lives on through Compton Hospice."

The Goodyear factory was first opened by Akron, the Ohio-based Goodyear in 1927.

It was the company's first factory outside of the USA.

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