Top firm has big plans for charity centre
29 April 2010
Posted in News
THE charity behind a £10 million therapy centre in Swansea has designs on success after a top Welsh firm of architects got involved.
Treat Trust Wales has formed a partnership with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board to develop the centre in the grounds of Morriston Hospital, and hopes work will start in 2014.
It has embarked on an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise the first £1 million needed over the next 12 months — and Cardiff-based Boyes Rees has given it a huge boost by working up plans for free.
"We are absolutely over the moon and honoured to have such a successful architectural firm working with us on this," said Melanie Davies who, with husband Mike, is the driving force behind Treat Trust Wales.
"If we'd had to pay to have it done, it would have cost us many thousands of pounds.
"We can now spend the money on the project, meaning people will benefit directly from the firm's generosity."
Melanie, from Port Talbot but now living in Gellinudd, near Pontardawe, has been a wheelchair-user since breaking her back in a motorbike accident at the age of 15. In 2001, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was around then that she developed her idea for a therapy centre for people with serious illnesses or injuries.
That led to the formation of Treat Trust Wales, whose president is Hollywood star Michael Sheen and his dad Meyrick is vice-president.
Patrons include paralympics legend Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and former rugby star Gwyn Jones.
Boyes Rees was working on the Morriston Hospital redevelopment when founder Jane Boyes heard about Treat and offered to help by organising an architect's brief.
Melanie wrote to her, expressing her thanks, and congratulating her on her achievements, which included winning the Welsh Woman of the Year Award in 2008.
The two eventually met.
"Jane was very interested in Treat, and, even though we told her we didn't have any money, she wanted to get involved," said Melanie.
"She told me she thought it was a wonderful, innovative idea, and she would be honoured to be part of it."
One of the firm's directors, Chris Jones, has now put together preliminary drawings and a plan, while the next stage will be to detail the internal layout of the centre.
He said it was an opportunity to explore new architectural ideas.
"It's also a very good cause in its own right that we are pleased to be involved with," he added.
Melanie, meanwhile, will be signing copies of her autobiography, Never Say Die, in Waterstone's in Oxford Street, Swansea, from 2pm onwards on Saturday.
She is donating her royalties to Treat.
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