High-tech £3m care unit first across county

From left: Martin Farrow, Earl Howe and Patricia Birchley
From left: Martin Farrow, Earl Howe and Patricia Birchley

The first of six new centres in Bucks for vulnerable adults has opened in Aylesbury.

The £3 million opportunities centre, formerly Hartwell Day Centre, was officially opened by parliamentary under-secretary for health Earl Howe.

He addressed 50 special guests before unveiling a plaque at the Thame Road South centre, where guests were toured around the state-of-the-art facility.

It is one of six being developed across the county by Bucks Care to replace 22 day centres, providing vulnerable adults with up-to-date care in a secure place.

Bucks County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing Patricia Birchley described the opening as an ‘important step’.

She said: “The new centres offer an environment where clients feel at home, and facilities that enable staff to provide care that is as life-enhancing as possible.”

Managing director of Bucks Care Martin Farrow said: “Our clients are enjoying greater choice and inclusivity here.

“We provide a range of activities from Tai Chi to Zumba, from hydrotherapy sessions to cooking classes.

“Clients can experience a sensory room and benefit from occupational therapy and physiotherapy. They can choose their meals and have real input into menus too – everything about this service has the community right at the heart of it.”

Built around a courtyard garden, the centre caters for the frail and elderly but also younger adults with autism and learning difficulties.

The other five facilities, in Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Burnham, Chesham and Wycombe will all be up and running by the end of 2015.

At the opening on Thursday, one of the Aylesbury centre’s vulnerable adults Bobby Rainsbury read out a poem he had written, entitled Strip Away The Layers.

He said: “If you strip away the layers, you will find I’m just the same. Not different to anyone, I mean I’m human, I have a name.

“Underneath my clothes, I’m drenched in pure soft bare skin. Complete with bone structure of a skeleton design within.

“Be proud of who you are, don’t be ashamed ‘cause you can only be you. So live life to the full, enjoy it and good luck in all you do.”