Plans have been unveiled for a new “world class” dementia care home to provide vital services in Wrexham and create 100 jobs in the process.
The Pendine Park care organisation say the state-of-the art 70-bed facility will be catering for the needs of the local community, with the number of people aged over 85 in North East Wales predicted to double in the next 20 years.
The two-storey design is a new, improved version of Bryn Seiont Newydd, the company’s home in Caernarfon, which was named as the best new care home in the UK at the prestigious Pinders Healthcare Design Awards after it opened in 2016.
According to Pendine Park, they will be working hand in hand with their in-house academy to “train the next generation of care workers and care home managers”.
The scheme was given outline planning permission by Wrexham County Borough Council in 2019 and detailed plans have now been handed in for approval.
As in Bryn Seiont, the home will be split into small “family-sized” units for between eight and 10 people.
The building will also be fitted a heat exchange system and mechanical ventilation which purifies the air to minimise the risk of any viruses spreading.
If the plans are given the thumbs up, Pendine will also be building an eco-friendly arts and well-being pavilion nearby in their 12-acre grounds on the outskirts of the town in Summerhill Road.
The highly-insulated pavilion, which already has planning permission, will have a host of green features, including rainwater harvesting, ground source heating and a sedum roof.
As well as being a hub for a host of enrichment activities like arts classes, music sessions and other therapies, the pavilion will also be a destination where residents and their families and friends can go for a cup of tea and a chat.
Since it was founded by social care pioneer Mario Kreft MBE and his wife, Gill, Pendine Park has grown into the largest provider of dementia services in North Wales, with eight homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon where they employ more than 800 people.
The new care home will be called Pen-y-Don after the hotel in Rhyl run by Mr Kreft’s beloved grandparents, Fred and Rene Warburton.
In later life Mrs Warburton suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and it was the fact that they were unable to find anywhere suitable for her that inspired the Krefts to open their first care home, Gwern Alyn, in 1985.
Mr Kreft is now regarded as one of the foremost figures in social care and is the chairman of Care Forum Wales, which represents nearly 500 independent provider, and the founder of the social care Oscars, the Wales Care Awards.
He says that if everything goes according to plan Pen-y-Don could be open in 2023.
Mr Kreft said: “Pen-y-Don is going to be a world class, next generation centre of excellence providing high level care for people living with dementia and our aim is to once again raise the bar in terms of quality.
“The investment is part of our overall strategy to develop and enhance services as a regional centre of excellence.
“Our in-house training academy will also be playing a key role as we provide staff with first class professional development to ensure the care is of the highest quality.
“Through our academy we are going to rebalance our specialist services for the future and grow the workforce.
“We want to give people the chance to forge a great career in social care, with plenty of opportunity for progression.
“The design of the building is based on our award-winning Bryn Seiont Newydd care home in Caernarfon which was crowned as new dementia facility in the UK after it opened in 2016.
“We have made some improvements and we are certainly going to make it greener and more sustainable in terms of the environment.
“One of the key elements of this design is small group living but with the advantage of a larger care setting and in particular that the home can be run as two separate floors, in small family units but with the ability to enable residents freedom, choice and the dignity of large areas of private space.
“It is now widely accepted that design of dementia facilities is a key factor in the provision of quality services that both meet the needs of individuals with dementia and enhance their quality of life and wellbeing.
“Research has shown that natural light, ventilation and air conditioning are very important positive factors as is the importance of space and a variety of different settings to provide fulfilling opportunities amongst many others.
“Pen-y-Don will certainly enhance our services in Wrexham and it will put the town on the map with a state of the art facility which will reflect the need to have more purpose-built, modern facilities.
“We are very much a local community-based organisation serving Wrexham for the past 35 years and we are once again to responding to the needs of the community.
“What is clearly the case is there is going to be even greater need for dementia care in future, including respite care for families as well as longer term care.
“We’re looking ahead to the post-Covid world when the NHS will need the support of social care services for many years to come.
“As with all our other homes, our commitment to the arts is at the heart of everything we do to enrich the lives of our residents and staff alike.
“That’s why more than 25 years ago Pendine was probably the first social care organisation in the UK to recruit an artist-in-residence and we now also have a musician-in-residence.
“Music and the arts are a big feature of daily life at Pendine Park because we are passionate about improving the quality of life of our residents.
“As well has having small lounges throughout, Pen-y-Don will also have facilities for the creative arts including a dedicated music room as well as a larger lounge that will in essence be like our own community centre where concerts and other activities can take place.
“The arts in all its forms is the golden thread that runs through everything that we do and the new pavilion will be the venue for a host of arts-related activities, supported by our academy which provides enrichment training for all our staff.”