New multi-million pound centre for severely disabled hailed ‘best in country’

A new multi-million pound day centre which will help transform the lives of some of Aberdeen’s most vulnerable adults has opened its doors for the first time.

The £4.3 million purpose-built centre has been built in Mastrick and will provide support and activities for some 50 adults with severe leaning and physical disabilities.

The facility is replacing the outdated Rosehill Day Centre and has been kitted out to the highest specifications to ensure the folk attending the centre receive the widest possible range of stimulating indoor and outdoor opportunities to help them enjoy fulfilling lives.

Day centre users, who are aged 18 to 65, will have access to:

  • an expansive outdoor sensory garden, with raised beds of scented plants, featuring winding paths and picnic areas;
  • a hi-tech computer room, with touch-screen technology and software which can be activated simply by eye or mouth movements by the most severely disabled of the centre-goers;
  • a specially adapted kitchen for service-users to learn basic lifestyle skills;
  • a café area where they can serve up self-made snacks and drinks, and learn new social skills;
  • a special sensory room with a water bed, a voice-activated light screen, an interactive “bubble tube”, coloured light projectors, and fibre-optic equipment to stimulate the senses;
  • a large dining room/lounge which can double up as a theatre, complete with curtains and a stage, for staff and service-users to lay on drama and pantos.

The new centre – which is the size of a small primary school – also features a calming quiet room, an art and craft room, a laundry, a first aid room and meeting rooms

Around 25 staff will look after the clients’ needs – and the centre will also provide neighbouring office space for a further 40 Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership mental health and learning disability staff.

The new centre has been fully funded from Aberdeen City Council’s capital programme and will be managed by ACHSCP. Service-users and Rosehill staff transferring to the new centre will move in this month – and they and clients’ families enjoyed a first-hand look at the new centre today [Thurs 09 March] at a special ‘sneak preview’ open day.

Cllr Len Ironside CBE, who cut the ribbon on behalf of the Aberdeen Integration Joint Board to launch today’s open day, said: “This is a significant and investment in the care and wellbeing of one of the most vulnerable sections of our community – at a time of constrained health and care budgets across the country. It shows the high level of our ambition when it comes to providing the best for our severely disabled folk.

The IJB vice-chair added: “I know of no other day centre of its kind anywhere in Scotland which is so aspirational in terms of supporting the service-users to achieve the very most that they can. The facilities are truly first class, probably the best in the country, and will transform the lives of all of the adults who attend.”

City Council Leader Cllr Jenny Laing said: “This new centre will provide a modern and welcoming community asset in which this city can take great pride. This is a day centre which will build links with its local community because the philosophy behind this scheme is one of inclusion. It will aim to overcome the traditional barriers which so often exclude people with physical and learning disabilities from the wider community.”

IJB chairman Jonathan Passmore said: “The centre will be at the heart of its local community and will help link people together rather than divide them. It will be a hub of activity which joins people instead of segregating them in terms of their different abilities. It also gives us a marvellous opportunity for cross-generational activity, for example by involving children from local primary schools and people from the local area in getting involved in gardening work in the sensory garden.”

The creation of the sensory garden will start this spring and will involve service-users, family members, staff, the Friends of Rosehill support group, and folk from the local Mastrick area. The garden is being kick-started with a £10,000 grant from Tesco’s Bags Of Help community support fund.

Other proposals for the future include establishing an accredited, NVQ-style, independent living skills qualification for service-users, tailored to their different abilities and taking advantage of the special facilities on offer at the day centre.

The new centre – known in the interim as “New Rosehill” – will be officially named at a later date.