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Developing support for people recovering from spinal cord injury – Construction work begins at Livability Holton Lee

Livability has started construction work on a new spinal support centre at Livability Holton Lee – the charity’s wellbeing discovery centre – in Poole, Dorset.

Working with the firm ‘Stepnell’ the work involves a mass refurbishment project of former barns to create a new spinal support centre.

When completed, the new spinal unit will enable people recovering from a spinal cord injury to benefit from the centre’s excellent respite facilities and specialist step-down care.

A spinal cord injury can have a devastating impact on someone’s life. In an instant, anyone can sustain a long or short-term disability which affects their livelihood, relationships and lifestyle.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects 40,000 people in the UK. Providing both medical attention and specialist rehabilitation services is vital to getting an injured person’s life back on track.

The capacity of traditional health services to provide medical attention beyond emergency treatment is often overstretched. In the years after injury, specialist rehabilitation support is essential but can be hard to access.

This means people are often missing out on the vital support to manage their life beyond injury and are at greater risk of isolation in their community.

When the new centre is completed it will provide a step-down care service which helps clients prepare for the transition from hospital to home by providing a domestic-style atmosphere that allows them to explore the limits and possibilities of their situation in a safe environment.

Up to 13 people at a time will be able to stay in the new spinal support centre where they can take advantage of the new domestically-designed facilities including an independence kitchen and an indoor physiotherapy space.

Liz Mell, Livability’s Executive Director of Operations

Liz Mell, Livability’s Executive Director of Operations

Liz Mell, Livability’s Executive Director of Operations, said: “Livability is a charity that is committed to helping the people we support overcome barriers in their lives, so they can continue to live full and independent lives in their community.

“The new facility we are developing at Livability Holton Lee will be a state-of-the-art support centre for people recovering from spinal injury. It will provide specialist rehabilitation services in a home-from-home environment focused on equipping people to manage life back at home and in their community.

“As part of our broader wellbeing centre, visitors will benefit from Livability Holton Lee’s
beautiful and supportive environment in which to build the skills and confidence to adapt to a life-changing injury.”

Livability is refurbishing two linked, one and two-storey buildings on the site. The former self-catering accommodation will be upgraded to a short-stay residential space that will provide specialist support to people recovering from spinal injuries.

The work will include the widening of ground-floor doors for easy wheelchair access and the infill of two ground-floor external areas to create additional internal rooms.

And all roof lights on the first floor will be replaced with longer windows to allow wheelchair users to appreciate the views.

In addition, external windows and doors will be replaced and the front entrance will be equipped with new sliding doors. Waste bins will also be relocated to a discrete walled enclosure.

“Unique centres such as Livability Holton Lee that provide purpose-built facilities are unfortunately few and far between,” says Robert Speirs, Regional Director for Stepnell.

“When completed at the end of this year, the new spinal unit will enable more people to benefit from the centre’s excellent respite facilities and specialist step-down care.”

Livability Holton Lee is a wellbeing discovery centre providing opportunities for people of all abilities to develop physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. The centre is a specialist in disability care and mental health.

Find out more here.

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