An incredible new purpose built children’s bereavement counselling centre for local children and their families within the extensive grounds of Treetops Hospice Care in Risley.



BBC / Treetops Hospice
170 m2 GIA

This remarkable project, with numerous challenges, went from inception to completion in less than 3 months – all thanks to the kindness and dedication of an army of volunteers.

Treetops Hospice is a charity that supports people with a range of life-limiting and long term conditions; as well as supporting their families and carers. 

Treetops wanted to create a new purpose built Children’s Bereavement Counselling Centre, tailored to the needs of the children and young people using it. 


They were delighted to hear that, through the BBC Children in Need fund, the BBC’s DIY SOS Big Build team was to help them establish such an important centre. 

Always up for a challenge, maber were delighted to be invited to act as architect for the project and offered our services on a pro bono basis.  

We have a great relationship with Treetops and had previously obtained planning approval for them for an alternative building on the site. Given the tight programme ahead, and the challenges posed by the site’s location in a Green Belt and Conservation Area, this prior site knowledge would prove invaluable.


The condensed project programme went from an initial meeting on 23 June, to obtaining planning approval and having the build complete and handed over by mid-September, ready for the filming that was aired on TV during a Children in Need Special on 16 November 2023.


The designs were reviewed by our in-house inclusive accessibility consultant, ensuring the building’s ease of use and that it is fully accessible and neurodiversity friendly. maber’s in-house visualisation team provided CGIs to aid the client’s vision and the wider design team. 

The whole project was delivered through the generosity of over 130 trades, volunteers and suppliers providing their services, time and materials for free. 

maber attended meetings with the BBC (client) and Treetops Hospice, to ensure that the user’s requirements were successfully incorporated into the design. Our project architects also attended Trades Day, to meet potential trades prior to construction, answer questions and develop the design in collaboration with others involved.


The condensed programme called for a building that could be constructed quickly. maber responded to this challenge by designing a simple form, with a standardised structural grid, keeping windows and cladding each to a single type and recommending the inclusion of a limited range of common building materials.  

Proposals were continually updated in response to confirmed labour and material donations.


The simple, single storey form of the building and limited material palette of engineered timber cladding and grey windows, doors and roof, allow the new facility to sit comfortably in its environment and harmonise with its natural surroundings. The entrance is marked by rendered pillars and a generous canopy. Glazed areas overlook the beautiful hospice grounds.

The building provides three bespoke counselling rooms, a complementary therapy room, a multi-functional activity area with kitchenette, and associated ancillary spaces. A covered, external area complements the internal provision.

Treetops needed a facility with low running costs. The design features a high performance building envelope, with high levels of insulation, carefully detailed to reduce heat losses.


South-west facing glazing optimises solar gains and photovoltaic panels are mounted on the mono pitched roof. The building surpasses building regulations in terms of CO2 emissions and energy efficiency and has received an EPC A rating.

Overall, this project is a testament to the power of collaboration and community support. A much-needed facility providing a safe space for children and families to find strength, heal and move forward has been created.


To take a virtual tour of the building, click to visit Treetops Hospice’s site.