Six year fight ends as unit opens

By Rob George Friday 22 June 2012 Updated: 29/06 14:53

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Buy photos » Miranne Spater, Chair of Trustees at Age Care joins Lord Strathalmond, President of Age Care, trustees Anna Woda and Chrissie Bailey, Droitwich mayor Counr Anne Taft and Dorset House manager Gence Mekkunnel for the opening. Picture by Grant Kovacs

A SIX-YEAR fight to secure a dedicated dementia care wing for Droitwich residents has come to an end with the opening of a new unit in the town.

Staff at Dorset House care home were joined by civic dignitaries for the opening and naming of its new dementia unit, the Magnolia Suite, at a ceremony last Thursday (June 14).

The opening marked the end of a long campaign by AgeCare, the charity which runs the home, which first floated plans for a secure dementia care wing for 30 residents in the grounds of Dorset House in 2006.

Kind-hearted staff members even began raising cash towards the estimated £3.7million needed to fund the project but plans were shelved in July 2009 due to the economic downturn.

Despite the axe, the home’s management team refused to give up and home manager Emma Miles proposed plans for a smaller unit which involved bringing the home’s derelict manager’s house back to life.

Funders for the first project were notified of its cancellation and asked if they would consider funding the new scheme.

Re-using the empty building saw the creation of a new ‘Administration Centre’ with a residents-relatives meeting room, training room and staff room.

This left a ground floor area free to be transformed into a dementia wing with five en-suite bedrooms for residential residents with dementia, a communal lounge, dining room, reminiscence room and wet room.

The Magnolia Suite was formally opened by AgeCare president Lord Strathalmond in a ceremony also attended by Droitwich mayor Coun Anne Taft.

Dorset House manager Gence Mekkunnel took Lord Strathalmond and Coun Taft on a tour of the new suite and the landscaped garden where it is situated.

He said: “This has been an amazing project to have been part of, which although on a smaller scale than the original plans, the new wing of Dorset House – named the Magnolia Suite, by Dorset House residents – will give the very best care.

Coun Taft told The Standard: “I was very impressed with the five-bedroomed dementia wing, which includes amongst it facilities, a pod relating back to the 1950s and a recreational room with kitchen facilities.

“It is a sad fact these days that so many people in our community are suffering with dementia but units, like this new wing at Dorset House, help to provide them with a better quality of life,” she added.

AgeCare Chief Executive, Julie Fuller said: “AgeCare is rising to the challenge of dementia and is a beacon in the medical and nursing care of people living with this disease.”

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