The official opening of a new respite care and short breaks centre for people with learning disabilities showcased the difference it is making to local people’s lives.
Calderdale Council transformed the former Westgarth children’s home in Elland to provide a new, modern location for the Council’s respite care and short breaks service, which has moved from the old Glenholme building in West Vale.
Since the fully refurbished Westgarth opened its doors in January 2022, 24 adults with learning disabilities have benefited from the new accommodation, giving them and their carers a welcome break.
The Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Angie Gallagher, officially opened the new facility on Friday 10 June. The Mayor and other guests took a tour of the building and garden areas. They were impressed with the quality of the transformation and state-of-the-art features to help people enjoy their stay and build their independence. One attendee, who had stayed in the centre, said it was “extraordinarily good”, and other residents, family members, carers and staff were equally delighted. Attendees also enjoyed a three-tier, Jubilee-themed cake that Westgarth’s manager, Nigel Brown, baked and decorated to mark the official opening.
The new facility has top-quality, fully-accessible accommodation and en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry, lounge and dining area, office space for staff and self-contained living units to support people to maintain their independence and further develop the skills they need to lead full and active lives. The garden area has also been improved with new landscaping, seating areas and a vegetable patch to enable guests to help with gardening tasks.
The Council commissions St Anne’s Community Services to run its respite care and short breaks service. St Anne’s provides person-centred support incorporating the values of respect and being open, understanding and dedicated. The activities it provides include baking, games, arts, crafts, film nights, outdoor activities and trips to restaurants, parks, shops and community events.
DS* uses the service at Westgarth and says:
“I really like the new building at Westgarth, it’s bright and modern and the bedroom is spacious with good facilities and a balcony, so I can look on to the nice garden.
“I like to use the art room as I enjoy doing arts and crafts, and I particularly like the comfortable lounge where I can spend time relaxing and doing my puzzle books. Westgarth has good facilities to help me with my independence, like the kitchen as I enjoy baking and preparing my meals.”
*Name shortened to protect anonymity
Cllr Josh Fenton-Glynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Wellbeing, said:
“I’m proud to open a new facility that makes the best use of our resources in supporting residents and carers. A lot of people are happier in their homes, but for us to support that we need to make sure we can provide short breaks and support to their families when they need it. Respite along with day services are key to doing that for longer, and we have updated Westgarth so it has what people need.”
Azra Kirkby, Chief Executive Officer for St Anne’s Community Services, said:
“We pride ourselves on delivering leading person-centred care, putting the needs of the people we support at the heart of everything we do.
“We are very proud to be able to work in partnership with Calderdale Council to deliver the Westgarth Service.
“Westgarth has been planned with clients’ needs fully in mind, with superb accessible accommodation and facilities. These facilities that Calderdale Council has invested in, are very much in keeping with our care and support ethos, of constantly adapting to the needs of service users.
“We are proud that Westgarth will enable all clients to flourish and enjoy many of the great local community facilities, which will further support people staying at the service.”