The building, formerly known as Colton House, on Ambleside Road, Mereside, previously operated as three flats, providing supported living accommodation for people with learning disabilities.
Designed by Cassidy + Ashton and renamed Coopers @ Ambleside, the centre has been transformed into a new purpose built two-storey modern facility with six bedrooms, state-of-the-art assisted technologies, a dining/kitchen, lounge, duty office, laundry, sensory and garden rooms, and staff facilities.
NHS England worked with the Blackpool Council, care providers and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), along with service users and families to add a range of sensory adaptations to the new scheme designed to better meet the needs of people with autism.
Feedback from parents and carers highlighted that they often experienced difficulties in securing essential respite from their caring responsibilities. Thanks to a significant investment of £1.6 Million from NHS England and additional support from the Council the new development got the go-ahead with work starting in 2019.
The new service was designed by parents, carers and services users who were delighted to work with Cassidy + Ashton to ensure the care facility could meet the needs of a variety of individuals but also trying to get a balance of achieving a ‘home from home’ feel; this was important to the individuals who would be using the services and their parents/carers.
Councillor Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Coopers @ Ambleside open and people already reaping the benefits of a new purpose-built facility for respite and short breaks.
“It is has taken longer than planned for it to open due to the pandemic, but it has been worth the wait. As soon as you walk in you feel a lovely, homely atmosphere. It is so important for parents and carers to have a much-needed break, but they also need to feel happy where their loved ones are staying. We are already receiving wonderful feedback.”
Blackpool Council appointed Conlon Construction to carry out the development. Cassidy + Ashton provided architectural and planning consulting services on the project, from the initial feasibility studies and reports through to the design and build stages to completion.
Dan Thorpe, associate director and architect at Cassidy + Ashton, the lead architect for the project, said: “It has been a pleasure to work on this project with the service users and their families, staff team and Blackpool Council.
“The scheme utilises a more open plan environment, reducing the need for corridors and providing bright, open and welcoming living areas.
“The design aims to facilitate the fantastic level of care that the staff team provide, and its success is a result of the stakeholder workshops that were held at the start of the scheme. Seeing the building now in operation, following great work by Conlon Construction, we are immensely proud to have had the opportunity to play our part in the project.”
Michael Conlon, chairman at Conlon Construction, added: “This purpose-built facility will support the provision of high-quality care for those with complex needs and we worked hand-in-hand with all those involved to create a centre that supports current and future care priorities, while driving significant added value locally and forging a lasting legacy that stretches beyond the build.”