Top design award for dementia centre

A unique specialist dementia care unit in Liverpool has won a top national design award.

The purpose-built £1.2 million council-run Sedgemoor Dementia Support Centre in Norris Green opened in spring 2013 and was the first of its type in the country.

Now it has beaten off competition from bigger and more expensive projects across the rest of the country to pick up the Best Care Complex award at the Healthcare Design Awards.

The awards recognise and celebrate the way in which the needs and desires of residents are incorporated into the final design of buildings.

Sedgemoor – which was built by construction firm Bullock – has been specially designed for people with dementia and provides assessment and respite facilities, with naturally lit spaces and an open plan layout to provide a calming atmosphere.

It features a hi-tech, interactive 4D theatre, where people are able to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and even smells of the past through old videos, cine footage, photographs and relevant scents, helping with cognitive therapy.

Other features include:

• A circular design which is easy to navigate, with large windows
• The use of objects of interest to help with ‘sensing’ a route
• Extensive use of the colour red as it is stimulating for people with dementia
• Peaceful, secure and safe garden area where activities take place

Sensory garden at Sedgemoor Dementia Centre
Sensory garden at Sedgemoor Dementia Centre

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Roz Gladden, said: “When we were designing Sedgemoor, we were very careful to make sure that it would help those who are touched by dementia.

“Anyone who has visited the site knows that it is an absolutely superb facility, offering state-of-the-art support and care for those with dementia and their families.

“We have an ageing population in Liverpool and all of the evidence shows there is going to be an increased need for this type of care facility, so it is particularly pleasing that it has got the seal of approval from health industry design professionals.”

Sedgemoor is used by up to 30 people per day and includes a ‘Telecare’ suite where staff are able to fully assess people and identify the most suitable types of technology such as sensors and warning alarms to help them stay safe.

Richard Madeley, Care Account Manager at construction firm Bullock, said: “We are delighted to have received such a well-recognised industry accolade.

“This project was a real partnership in operation. All the stakeholders worked hard to deliver a non-institutionalised local authority building that has by far exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of quality and service.

“The standard of design and finish easily contests with facilities available in the private market.”

Sedgemoor is receiving visits every week from other local authorities and care agencies from as far afield as Poland and Sweden as they seek to emulate the facility.

Richard added: “The team at Bullock take great pride in each and every care project they deliver and never lose sight of the needs of the end user.

“This award is a great recognition of Bullock’s proven ability to transfer outstanding design into functional buildings.”

The building is also used for respite, and includes a hobby space where people can take part in arts and crafts.

Outside there is a fully enclosed sensory garden including allotments and raised beds where people who are interested in gardening are able to practice their horticulture skills safely.

Work will get underway later this year refurbishing all of the bedrooms in the original part of the building, completing the transformation of the site.