CHARITY officials will find out tomorrow if enough money has been raised to open a full-time care unit at St Teresa's Hospice in Darlington.

The Darlington NHS Primary Care Trust will discuss the allocation of extra funds to the hospice's Giving To Life appeal.

The campaign, backed by The Northern Echo, was launched last year to raise £250,000 to open a six-bed full-time care unit at the hospice and to raise funds each year to pay for the running costs.

Presently, the hospice can only offer day care facilities for terminally illn people.

The unit would offer 24-hour-care to people who can not be looked after at home and do not want to go into hospital. In turn, it would free up hospital beds taken by patients who would be better served in a hospice environment.

The unit could also be used to give carers a break from looking after a relative or friend.

Tomorrow, the trust will be asked to approve funding of £100,000 per year for the hospice for a minimum of two years.

This money would come from the NHS Cancer Plan, which has made £50 million available for cancer care in the UK, £109,000 of which will come to Darlington.

If the trust approves the funding, the hospice will receive matched funding from Marie Curie Cancer Care to help pay for nursing costs.

That would leave the hospice with about £80,000 a year to raise for running costs for the unit, plus the cost of turning six rooms in the building in Woodland Road into the care centre.

The hospice would also have to continue fundraising for its day care services.

So far, the hospice has raised more than £80,000 for the new unit, thanks to donations from local businesses and the public.

If the unit is given approval, that same amount will have to be raised each year to ensure that the centre continues to operate.