HRH The Princess Royal has officially opened a brand new Livability facility in Dorset – the Livability Spinal Injury Centre. It is based on the site of Livability Holton Lee – a wellbeing discovery centre set in 350 acres of Dorset countryside.
The Livability Spinal Injury Centre will provide respite and rehabilitation services to people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Building on and maintaining rehabilitation skills learnt in specialist NHS SCI services, the new centre will focus on providing visitors with a range of practical support to equip them for life beyond their cord injury.
The centre is a new and adapted facility that Livability has had developed by the construction team Stepnell. The centre will have spaces for up to 13 people to stay at any one time and will offer them specially designed, accessible facilities that will feel like a ‘home from home’ environment.
Service visitors will benefit from the centre’s independence kitchen, fully accessible en-suite rooms and indoor therapy gym, as well as a dedicated team providing personalised and bespoke packages of rehabilitation and support. Operating on a residential basis with some drop in services, the centre is aiming to open officially as a service by April 2017, following registration process completion.
Based in the grounds of Livability Holton Lee– visitors can also benefit from the services of the broader wellbeing site.
The project has been backed with funding from the charitable foundations: The Bradbury Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and The Talbot Village Trust. The Princess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening, with one of the wings of the building being named ‘The Bradbury Wing’. Read more about the centre here.
HRH The Princess Royal visited the site for the official venue opening and ceremony. The event was attended by a wide range of visitors including: local dignitaries, health and spinal injury services, supporters, donors, service users and members of the local community.
She visited the Spinal Injury Centre and also toured the wellbeing discovery centre, having opportunities to see the Flourish Programme (a horticultural therapy project for disabled people); arts and ceramics studios, riding and carriages stables and other activities designed to support people’s wellbeing.
She met with service users on Livability’s Flourish project – a gardening scheme for disabled people and people living with mental illness.
She also met Peter Thompson – a Bournemouth based running enthusiast who has set himself a sporting challenge called ‘Marathons for the Mind’ to run 44 marathons, in 44 days in 44 countries to raise awareness for mental health and fund for Livability. Read more here.
In her comments about opening the Spinal Injury Centre, HRH The Princess Royal said:
‘It makes perfect sense’ alongside the broader offering and services of the site. Referencing the value of other spinal injury services, she commented that the centre would make a valuable contribution, ‘Adding to the knowledge and skills here and opening the doors for a very specific kind of support. It will promote support requirements for those that have been spinally injured and I look forward to what the achievements of these facilities can bring.’
Nick Ashley Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury
Friend of Livability attended the event and spoke at the opening reception.
‘Working for caring and inclusive communities was central to the work of my ancestor – the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. I am proud to know first-hand how that founding vision continues to inspire Livability’s work today. Through a wide range of disability and community focused projects, Livability work to tackle barriers in people’s lives and work for inclusion for all.
The opening of this state-of-the-art Spinal Injury Centre really excites me. As someone that has sustained and recovered from a spinal cord injury, I know personally what a life-changer it is and why the need for good rehabilitation is vital. Providing a context in which people can receive professional support – alongside opportunities to enhance their lives through the wellbeing offer at Livability Holton Lee – is truly inspiring.’
Liz Mell, Livability’s Director of Operations, explained how centre will help people with spinal cord injury:
‘Our new Spinal Injury Centre, will offer a much-needed respite facility and step-down care service that will prepare those who have sustained injuries for the transition from hospital to home. The support on offer will enable people learn vital skills that will lead to more independent, fulfilled lives. Set in the grounds of our wellbeing discovery centre, visitors to this new service will also benefit from the broader wellbeing opportunities the site provides.’
Stephen Muldoon, Assistant Director of Livability International, has provided spinal injury consultancy nationally and internationally for over 20 years
‘I welcome the new Spinal Injury Centre at Livability Holton Lee. With any spinal cord injury, dealing with the physical injury is not enough to rehabilitate a person. It’s vital to focus on the whole person – the psychological, social and economic consequences. All these have to be taken into consideration when helping a person come to terms with their injury and move on with their lives. This new Spinal Injury centre at Livability Holton Lee will provide an essential service – an offer of personalized, holistic support to help overcome the challenges that come with a spinal injury.’