Our History

Since the very first Hospice Nurse started work in 1983, Northern Ireland Hospice has grown to be one of Northern Ireland's leading charities, providing specialist palliative care to 4,000 patients every year.

NI Hospice Key Milestones

  • 2019


    • Northern Ireland Hospice hosts the International Conference for Palliative Dementia Care
    • Bob and Berts choose Northern Ireland Children's Hospice as its Charity Partner of the Year 
    • Northern Ireland Hospice hosts its largest-ever fundraising event, The Dragon Boat Race
    • Northern Ireland Children's Hospice raises over £300k as part of its 2018 Jingle All the Way festive fundraising campaign 


  • 2018
    • Northern Ireland Hospice launches the Hospice Hub
    • Northern Ireland Hospice launches the Palliative Care Learning Academy
    • The Countess of Wessex marks official opening of £13m Adult Hospice facility in Belfast
    • We officially opened our 28th flagship Hospice Shop in Glengormley
    • The Northern Ireland Hospice Business and Celebrity Ambassador Network is launched
    • Thanks to Big Lottery funding, a Parents & Tots Group was formed by our Family Support Team at Horizon House
    • Northern Ireland Hospice recognised as a Family Friendly Employer
  • 2017
    • Awarded Best Kept Healthcare Facility in Belfast Trust for third year running
    • IPU Equipment Appeal generated a staggering £166,336.61 from an incredible 1,800 supporters
    • Celtic Foundation and Hospice Ambassador Brendan Rodgers donate over £40k to Hospice Dementia Funding
    • Eamonn Holmes becomes NI Hospice Ambassador 
  • 2016
    • Thanks to the generosity of local people, businesses and trusts and support by government, patients were admitted to the new world class, purpose built Hospice in May 2016
    • Northern Ireland Hospice launches the Hospice Enabled Dementia Partnerships Programme
    • Hospice volunteers awarded `Queens Award for Volunteering`
    • The Old School House Cafe at the Hospice opens, converting coffee to care
  • 2014

    On 4th April 2014, and after many months of excavation and demolition, the first brick was laid of the new Northern Ireland Adult Hospice. Two long years of fundraising, project management and negotiations ensued.

  • 2013

    After many years as a private residence, Somerton House became the Preparatory department for Belfast High School, before being bought by Northern Ireland Hospice in 1983. By 2002, the condition of the building was becoming an issue and the ongoing maintenance needs forecasted clearly demonstrated that the use of Somerton House as a Hospice would be untenable. A new facility would be required in which to deliver the palliative care needs of local people. After almost ten years of discussions, research, planning and finance applications, the decision was taken to purchase adjacent land & property and to completely rebuild a new state of the art Hospice on the old site. In 2013, Northern Ireland Hospice Adult services were relocated to a temporary facility in the grounds of Whiteabbey Hospital.

  • 2012

    Eleven years later and still the only Children’s Hospice service in Northern Ireland, NI Children's Hospice recognised the need for an extension of its services. In 2012, a new children's hospice ‘Horizon West’ was opened in Killadeas in Country Fermanagh.

  • 2001

    Northern Ireland’s first ever Children’s Hospice opened. Sitting at the foot of Cavehill in Newtownabbey, ‘Horizon House’ was designed as a 'home from home' for children with life limiting conditions and their families. The purpose built facility comprises ten bedrooms, a hydrotherapy pool, a multi-sensory room, play den, large living area and family accommodation.

  • 1985

    Our first Hospice facility was opened at ‘Somerton House’ just off the Antrim Road in North Belfast, offering six beds for adults with terminal conditions. A further 11 beds were opened in the years that followed

  • 1983

    The very first Hospice Nurse started work, providing care to patients in their own homes.