First council care home for more than 25 years opens in Liverpool

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THE first Liverpool City Council-commissioned care home to be built in more than 25 years opens in Speke this week.

The £8m Brushwood on South Parade is part of a commitment by the city council to meet the rising demand for dementia care services.

It is the first local authority-built care home to open in the city since the early 1990s, and will be the first of two – with the other, Millvina House in Everton, opening next month.

There are 60 beds, 48 of them for long-term care including nursing and general residential care, and the remaining dozen for assessment.

Care at the centres is being delivered by Shaw healthcare – the majority employee-owned company signed up to the Liverpool Social Value Charter and is paying its workforce in the city above the national living wage, and has provided specialist training in safeguarding and dementia awareness to all staff.

Partnerships with local colleges and training organisations have enabled the firm to recruit around 80 percent of the staff from the local area – Speke, Garston and Hunts Cross – while almost a quarter were unemployed prior to joining the team. 

The name Brushwood was chosen following a competition with local people – it was the original name for Speke in the Domesday Book.

Each wing is named after a poet, with Roger McGough and Adrian Henri among those featured, and selected poems they have written on the walls.

The council has borrowed the money to build the two centres, with the repayments covered by income from the leases on each site.

It is the latest stage in a comprehensive investment programme for adult social care facilities in Liverpool. In June, the £5 million council-owned and run Townsend Hub in Tuebrook opened, providing care to help stroke patients back on their feet before they return home.

And Besford House in Belle Vale, which provides accommodation for adults with learning disabilities, has recently undergone a £900,000 makeover.

The city council spends almost £50m a year on residential and nursing care, plus a further £11m on dementia and memory-loss services.

It has shielded social care as much as it can from the cuts in its funding from central Government since 2010, despite a £436m reduction in the council’s budget from 2010 – 2020.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We have already invested heavily in creating new social care hubs across the city in recent years, but our increasing elderly population means that we are facing a significant challenge in ensuring that there is sufficient capacity within our social care system to meet the needs of people with dementia and other long-term care needs.

“This is against a backdrop of rising demand, significant cuts to our budget from central Government of £436 million between 2010 and 2020 and increasing pressure on wider healthcare services.

“The decision to invest in these two new purpose-built care homes that will offer residential and nursing dementia beds and carer respite is part of our invest to save strategy and will help ease pressure on other, more costly parts of the health service such as hospital beds, and save the public purse money.”

Geraint Evans, commercial and development director for Shaw Healthcare said: “We are extremely proud to be working with Liverpool County Council and its contractors Willmott Dixon, and look forward to delivering high-quality, specialist and sustainable care services to the residents of Brushwood. The facility provides state of the art accommodation and our team has been through an industry-leading training programme, all of which will help us to ensure that residents enjoy the best possible quality of life.

“The partnerships we have been able to develop have been invaluable in helping us to shape the team that will deliver care services at Brushwood. We’ve been blown away by the support from local organisations, as well as from Liverpool City Council, and are committed to maintaining positive, ongoing relationships to support the continued development of the team and our services.

“As a company, our values are wellness, happiness and kindness and we believe that this should be present in all we do. The team at Brushwood will take a person-centred approach to care to achieve the best outcomes for residents. Our goal is to deliver the type of care that we would want for our own loved ones.”

Anthony Dillon, managing director in the north for construction firm Willmott Dixon, said: “Working alongside Liverpool County Council  and Shaw healthcare, we are proud to play our part in delivering these important purpose-built facilities which will provide outstanding levels of care for those with dementia and other long-term care needs. This is a pioneering investment in community healthcare for the people of Liverpool.

“Healthcare buildings that are truly fit for purpose such as this, are designed, planned, constructed and managed with the needs of the people who live and work within them, at their heart.”

Poet Roger McGough said: “To have a wing of a dementia hub named after oneself is a real honour and I am also pleased that my old friend Adrian Henri is also included.

“I have written several poems about dementia over the years and it is a subject that is close to my heart.”