Dementia centre celebrates national award success with charity donation

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A South Wales dementia centre which is in the running for a top national design award after a multimillion pound revamp is celebrating with a charity donation to help others battling the condition.

Anwen Care Home, in Heol Pant-Yr-Awel, Bridgend, has won a place in the final of the prestigious Pinders Healthcare Design Awards following a £5million refurbishment project embracing the very latest advances in dementia-friendly design.

In celebration of its achievements, the care home welcomed Huw Irranca-Davies, Assembly Member for Ogmore and former Welsh Minister for Children and Social Care, to present a £2,000 cheque to the Alzheimer’s Society in support of its ground-breaking research.

The donation includes £500 in prize funding for making the final of the Pinders Awards and has been topped up with a generous £1,500 donation from Anwen and group owners Care Inn Ltd.

Mr Irranca-Davies who has supported the home’s refurbishment since visiting two years ago when the community installed a defibrillator at the facility, said: “Congratulations to Anwen on being the only home in Wales to be shortlisted for the Pinders Design Award in recognition of their work.

“As a big supporter of Anwen, I am delighted to present this cheque received from Pinders for the Alzheimer’s Society as Anwen’s nominated charity. Well done everyone and keep up the good work.”

The Pinders Healthcare Design Awards honour the best health-care led developments across the UK. Judged by a team of experienced healthcare valuers, architects, developers, lenders and care operators, entries are assessed against a rigorous list of criteria, with the best singled out for the final.

Anwen Care Home, which is a member of social care champions’ Care Forum Wales, has been nominated in the regeneration category and representatives from the home will now attend a glittering awards ceremony in London on March 13.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “This is a fantastic milestone in Anwen’s journey and well-deserved recognition for the innovative and inspiring environment they have created for dementia residents,” he said.

“The Pinders Healthcare Design Awards are one of the most coveted of their kind and I’m delighted Anwen will be flying the flag of Wales in the competition. As a caring and compassionate care centre, I am not surprised staff chose to celebrate with a generous donation to the Alzheimer’s Society to continue their important work and I would like to wish them every success in the final.”

Almost 100 local jobs have been created since work began developing Anwen Care Home in 2014.

Construction workers spent four years upgrading disused buildings belonging to the previous care home, which closed in 2012, into one of the plushest care facilities in South Wales, providing 60 beds.

Sanjiv Joshi, director of Care Inn Ltd, said: “We are absolutely delighted we’ve made it through to the final, especially since the other two chosen finalists in our category are incredible projects of a magnitude of five to ten times our own project.

“It’s acknowledgement that we are recognised for delivering quality design in the Local Authority funded fees market. It’s easier to deliver great quality of design in the private fee market because you can charge and recover that investment. Anwen is set in a deprived area and most of our residents are public-funded. To be recognised alongside projects in the private fee market is a great honour.

“The competition is fierce with some amazing projects making through to the final. We are the only home in Wales to have made it this year and for this we are very proud.

“The Alzheimer’s Society is very close to our hearts. My mother in law in India has Alzheimer’s, Meriel John’s father had Alzheimer’s and  we are a specialist dementia centre. We all felt this donation was an appropriate way to celebrate.

“We are very grateful to Huw and Chris Elmore (current MP) for being such  big supporters of the care home. Huw has been supporting us since the days he was our MP. He has seen the whole transformation and has supported us all the way. This award is fantastic achievement for the whole team at Anwen from our property team and designers through to the maintenance, cleaning staff and carers.”

Sue Phelps, Country Director for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, said: “Congratulations to Anwen Care Home on reaching the finals of the Pinders Heathcare Design Awards. We are delighted to accept this generous donation which will support people living with dementia across the country.

“There are currently 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales – that number is set to rise to 100,000 by 2055.  Alzheimer’s Society Cymru campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia in Bridgend and across the UK.

“We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you are going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for support, help and advice. You can call our national Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or 03300 947400 (Welsh language) or visit alzheimers.org.uk.”

Every stage of Anwen’s development was inspired by dementia research with interactive artworks sprawling the corridors, colour contrasting handrails, hand-painted walls capturing local scenery and a new glass nurses’ hub at the centre of care home life.

Some rooms boast their own private gardens with stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys while a brand new, nostalgically-designed cinema room has been created to take residents on a trip back in time.

There’s also a new café, hairdressers’, beach area complete with Japanese pagoda and new road providing access to the ground floor for ambulances.

“I think the Pinders awards judges recognised that we have been innovative and although we worked with a much smaller budget we have created an environment that works well for the community we are serving,” explained Mitul Shah, project manager at Care Inn ltd.

“We’ve created a very supportive environment for the residents with dementia both internally and in our garden spaces. We used wet pour safety flooring which is an idea inspired by children’s playgrounds, protecting people if they fall. It’s made of a rubberish material and has a non-slip surface.

“It’s important for residents with dementia to be outdoors as much as possible. It helps with sleeping patterns, vitamin D intake. The general evidence shows that the more time older people spend outdoors the better their mental health and wellbeing.

“We are very fortunate at Anwen to be surrounded by farms. It’s very conducive to the wellbeing of the residents.”