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The Willow Centre

The Willow centre, run by Parkhaven Trust, which is located in Maghull North Liverpool was formally opened last month by Roger McGough.  Parkhaven Trust is a charity which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, like the football league and the Financial Times!  The Trust, a registered charity, began in 1888 to provide services for people with epilepsy.  With the advance in research and treatment for epilepsy, services provided by the Trust were no longer required.  The Trust took the decision eight years ago, at the request of the local social services, to develop day services for people with dementia.  From a modest beginning the Trust’s vision and ambition grew resulting in the opening of the Willow centre.

The Willow centre is a special place.  It was designed especially for people with dementia in mind.  Relatives and staff were consulted.  The centre provides day opportunities for people with dementia and we do mean opportunities: baking, yoga, gardening; we definitely know who the keen gardeners are, they plant the seeds with ease and confidence.  There is singing and dancing and a beautiful grand piano.  We have our own putting green and the knitting group.  The immense skill and speed of the knitters is a wonderful sight.    The centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  People can come for the day or up to 6 days a week.  There is an offer of a drop off arrangement at anytime, paid for by carers vouchers or direct payments. 

The Trust previously had a separate respite service provided in a residential home.  Whilst this provided an introduction to residential care for a person at the beginning of their dementia journey, a short respite stay could be a daunting experience when combined with being away from home for the first time, living with 28 other people and many of those with more advanced dementia.  The Trust decided therefore to include the respite service as part of the Willow Centre, to provide an integrated service where one flows in to another.  There are six bedrooms, a kitchen and lounge all surrounding a courtyard.  The essence of the service is that the staff are one team and therefore if a service user attends for the day and then uses the respite service they are well know to the team, their likes and dislikes, their life stories.  It’s as we say: familiar faces in familiar places.  Not only do we support people with dementia at the Willow, we will, if they wish, visit them at home and provide domiciliary care; a truly integrated person centred service.

We conduct a survey each year and here are just a few of comments we received from our service user’s families about the Willow service:

“the values and attitudes of staff demonstrate they really care”

“Excellent centre, a real life line”

“At first, I was reluctant to let him go, but now I feel very at ease”

The revenue costs are primarily paid for by Sefton Council.  Parkhaven Trust paid the majority of the £1.8m capital cost supported by four grants amounting to £315k.

If you want to know more visit our website at www.parkhaven.org.uk

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