"We are incredibly proud to launch this new, thriving community hub with so many accessible leisure, library and health services all under one roof. It's an incredible step forward in so many ways."
Emma Hutchinson, LiveWire Managing Director
A new cutting edge £16 million community facility and fitness centre – hailed as one of the UK’s most dementia-friendly buildings – has opened its doors in Warrington, Cheshire.
LiveWire Warrington, the largest provider of leisure, library and lifestyle services in the town, has unveiled the first phase of its newly refurbished Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub after an extensive 12-month redevelopment.
The new community facility and fitness hub, designed in collaboration with Walker Simpson Architects has been specifically designed to meet leading dementia-friendly standards throughout, creating a safe and welcoming environment for people living with the condition.
The building’s new state-of-the-art fitness suite includes a comprehensive selection of equipment approved by the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI), and provides easy-to-use kit enabling those with Alzheimer’s to stay physically active.
The community hub is also aiming to be the first public building seeking the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) Gold Award for its dementia-friendly architecture and design.
The new facility includes a range of dementia-friendly features such as free-flowing reception pods, natural and artificial lighting, clear signage and floor finishes and fully accessible toilets.
Inside, the building includes a new community library containing up to 4,000 books, a quiet room, NHS consultation rooms and a new space for an interactive, rolling programme of cultural and heritage displays. The new facility also includes new information totems, digi-bars and self-serve kiosks with finger-print recognition technology for members.
Outdoor activity spaces around the hub, such as a football pitch, tennis courts and nature area, also include outdoor seating.
And staff have received special training in order to raise awareness of dementia and the impact it can have on people, their family and friends.
LiveWire’s Managing Director, Emma Hutchinson, said: “We are incredibly proud to launch this new, thriving community hub with so many accessible leisure, library and health services all under one roof. It’s an incredible step forward in so many ways. We’re proud that this is the first public wellbeing centre in the area with dementia friendly elements at the very front and centre of its construction and design.
“It’s important to remember that people with dementia can – and want to – remain physically active, and while most leisure centres facilitate for those with additional physical needs, we also needed to design facilities that allow for cognitive impairments.
“Taking the time to understand dementia friendliness was key from the very beginning of this project. We wanted this to be regarded as one of the most dementia-friendly community facilities in the UK so, from the first stages of the design process, we considered all aspects of the customer experience from lighting and layout to signage and colour scheme.
“As our ageing population increases, so will the need for accessible, dementia-friendly environments and we’re determined to lead the way in designing and building facilities that acknowledge this challenge.”
As well as new health services, a fully-accessible swimming pool, sports hall and a new spa are set to be opened at phase two of the project, expected to be later in 2018.
The project has been constructed by BAM, and supported with funding from Warrington Borough Council, NHS England, Sport England, Football Foundation and Lawn Tennis Association.
For more information about the facility or for membership enquiries visithttps://www.greatsankeyneighbourhoodhub.co.uk/.
For more information on the DSDC bid, visit http://dementia.stir.ac.uk/blogs/dementia-centred/2018-03-14/designing-future-primary-healthcare.