FWP delivers showcase mental health rehabilitation unit

Published: 25-Apr-2022

£9.4m project is latest in series of psychiatric facilities handed over to Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

A flagship new mental health rehabilitation centre has been handed over to Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

Architectural, design, and masterplanning practice, Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), led on the delivery of the £9.4m centre on the site of an existing hospital building at Wesham, which had been empty for more than eight years.

A ‘community-facing rehabilitation service’ will now be based in the refurbished building in Mowbreck Lane, which includes a modern, timber-clad extension.

Constructed by Eric Wright Group; the Wesham Rehabilitation Centre has 28 en-suite bedrooms for people who have been in hospital and need support to regain skills and confidence with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and looking after their own health and wellbeing.

There are also expansive gardens and outdoor therapy areas, as well as quiet lounges and a ‘MasterChef style’ communal kitchen where residents can cook their own meals with support from staff.

Martin Whittle, FWP partner, said: “We have used all our experience that we have built up in the mental health sector over several years to deliver this important community project.

“It really is a showcase of how far mental health design has progressed in recent years and the leading role FWP’s specialist team has played in that development.

“The team involved has worked extremely hard with the trust to create a unit that is both warm and welcoming and has a distinct non-clinical feel throughout.

“We believe the result is a stand-out facility that will help people to live independent lives back in the community.”

David Simmons, FWP associate partner, added: “User and clinical engagement meetings have allowed the design to evolve into a unit that is totally removed from people’s traditional view of a hospital environment.

The centre has 28 en-suite bedrooms, communal facilities, and expansive gardens and outdoor therapy areas

The centre has 28 en-suite bedrooms, communal facilities, and expansive gardens and outdoor therapy areas

“Our design encompasses lots of open-access spaces, a reception area that is warm and welcoming, a central living space that contacts the two bedrooms wings which is a truly-uplifting space for day-to-day relaxing and engagement with full access to an exceptional garden where residents can grow and nurture their own produce.

“The centre is also working with a local charity to encourage residents to get involved in growing produce in the standout therapy gardens that have been created.

“Produce grown by the residents can be then cooked in the impressive 'Master Chef' style kitchens and later sold in the community café within the entrance area.” <.p>

And, speaking on behalf of the trust, director of operations, Joanna Stark, said: “We are incredibly proud to launch this new offering to our service users and to help bridge the gap between acute treatment and re-integrating people back into the community.

“The service will have a positive impact on existing service users and benefit new service users in need of a different kind of support.

“We aim to help people with long-term mental health conditions manage their own care and give them back the independence and lifestyle they deserve.

“We hope the Wesham centre will pave the way for future mental health rehabilitation services across the region.”

The Wesham centre is just one of several important refurbishment projects that FWP has worked on for the trust, which provides a range of mental health services for communities in Lancashire and south Cumbria.

Its specialist provision includes inpatient child and adolescent mental health services, perinatal mental health, and forensic services including low and medium-secure care.

The trust also provides a range of physical health and wellbeing services in the community.

FWP’s specialist mental health team also redesigned the ‘Skylark’ unit in Preston, Lancashire, for the trust.

This rehabilitation unit is now helping patients recovering from mental health conditions regain the skills associated with day-to-day living.

And several of its patients will be among the first to use Wesham on their pathway back to living in the community.

FWP appointed a strong team of experienced consultants to help deliver the Wesham unit, including Cheadle Hulme-based, TACE, which provided mechanical and electrical design support.

TRP Consulting, based in Manchester and Preston, provided civil engineering and structural design; and Manchester-headquartered Urban Green has delivered the ecology and external landscape designs.

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