A new centre of excellence for dementia care has been hailed as a “fantastic” boost to the economy of Gwynedd.
The Pendine Park care organisation is investing £7 million in the centre that’s being built on the site of the former Bryn Seiont community hospital on the outskirts of Caernarfon.
The centre which will create 100 jobs is being backed by the local AM Alun Ffred Jones and the local MP, Hywel Williams.
They were taken on a guided tour of the site by Pendine Park proprietor, Mario Kreft MBE.
The organisation has already been flooded with calls from people looking for work at Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont (Bryn Seiont Care Centre).
It’s hoped the bilingual centre will open in the Autumn and will also provide respite and day care in addition to the 71 beds for the people living there.
There are also plans to build 16 companion living apartments as part of a second phase of the development.
Mr Jones said: “It’s fantastic. I’m very excited by what I’ve seen today and I think this facility will be a huge boon, not just to the immediate area but also to North West Wales in general.
“It opens up new opportunities, not only for staff to work in a first-class, top-rate centre, but also for the families of those who suffer from dementia.
“I’m very impressed by the way it’s laid out, the areas and the space that’s available and the safety aspects. It really is exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing it open.
“I would hope that the vast majority of the staff would live locally. There are huge opportunities here because they’ll be working in a modern, forward-thinking centre where they can develop their skills.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Hywel Williams who said: “What strikes me is that there’s been very detailed and thoughtful planning and it won’t be a matter of merely providing care.
“There’ll be a range of other services and other opportunities to develop as regards to new ways of practising and working.
“The centre will be hub for other services such as day care and respite care.
“I think the key for many developments such as this is the connection with the local community and that there’s a feeling of ownership amongst local people, that people feel that it is a service for them and that it is a service that is acceptable and of a high standard for their relatives.”
Mr Williams also praised Pendine Park’s commitment to using the arts as a way of improving the quality of life of the people for whom they provide care.
The organisation already has three artists in residence and is involved in long-standing collaborations with the world-renowned Hallé orchestra and Welsh National Opera.
The MP added: “It’s a people business in the end and people have all manner of interests. You have to look at their lives generally and in the round and not just look at medical or physical or even psychological needs.”
According to Mr Kreft, opening the pioneering centre will be the perfect way to celebrate the Pendine Park’s 30th anniversary.
They already employ more than 600 people in seven care homes in Wrexham, which cater for a variety of needs, a domiciliary care company and their own in-house training company.
Mr Kreft is the Chair of Care Forum Wales, the main representative body for the care sector in Wales, and was awarded an MBE for his contribution to social care in Wales.
He said: “I am extremely grateful to Mr Jones and Mr Williams for taking time of their busy schedule to come and see us here at the site of what will become Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont.
“Our aim is to create something really special here and the site itself, that’s fringed with mature trees, is the perfect setting.
“We’ve had a phenomenal degree of support from the community right across the range and we hope to take that forward and work with the community.
“We will be a bilingual community based organisation, serving the needs of individuals and their families and trying to ensure that people get the very best care with an enriched quality of life, whatever their disability.”