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Haverhill firm leads the way in quest for dementia care innovation in the UK

A unique dementia care village - the first of its type in the UK - could be built on the outskirts of Haverhill if the new proposals are given the go ahead.

Based on the Hogeweyk concept pioneered in Weesp, a small town near Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the village would be constructed just off the A143 in Little Wratting, on land currently used as a riding school.

An application for full planning permission has been submitted to West Suffolk Council by CARE (Little Court) Ltd.

An illustration of how the Little Court dementia village would look. Image courtesy of Jordan+Bateman
An illustration of how the Little Court dementia village would look. Image courtesy of Jordan+Bateman

CARE is based in Chauntry Mill in Haverhill and run by architect Phil Jordan and chartered surveyor Stuart Harris and was founded in 2017 with the goal of bringing the Hogeweyk concept to the UK.

The planning statement issued on behalf of CARE by Rapleys LLP says that the plans seek to create a "specialist dementia care village for up to 120 residents, including central amenity building (shop, restaurant, pub, communal hall, treatment/counselling rooms, offices and staff accommodation), club/hobby rooms, vehicle parking, landscaping proposals and associated works.”

Should it go ahead some of the new facilities would be open to the public.

A graphic of how the dementia care village at Little Court would look. Image by Jordan+Bateman
A graphic of how the dementia care village at Little Court would look. Image by Jordan+Bateman

Of the scheme, Mr Jordan said: "It's groundbreaking stuff. It's the first time that Hogeweyk's approach to dementia care has been built, to its entirety, outside of Holland.

"We have been working with Hogeweyk's directors for probably seven years now.

"We had various options of sites which we are looking at but as my business in based in Haverhill, my architecture business is based in the town but also CARE is now based in Haverhill, and I've spent a lot of time working with various organisations in the town and looking at how the town can develop and grow and have the status it richly deserves and have something new and innovative and groundbreaking, when we looked at the site we thought this is the one.

"It would be bringing 170 jobs to the town be putting it on the map."

The planning statement submitted as part of the application added that the village will accommodate 120 people living with severe dementia.

It added: "Residents will live groups in 6-bedroom apartments, sharing day to day life with those who have similar backgrounds and values and socialising with others in the village who have common interests.

"The primary objective of the model is to provide an environment where residents are safe and are therefore allowed as much personal freedom to live as natural a life as their condition allows.

"The buildings are arranged around streets and squares which provide safe, secure spaces for the residents to use. Experienced staff are on hand to provide care and guidance as necessary.

"Residents’ care programmes will allow and encourage them to remain active and engaged.

"The layout of the village will provide small and intimate squares and streets to help residents feel at ease; large spaces are known to breed nervousness and insecurity in those living with dementia.

"These external spaces are crucial to allowing freedom to wander for residents in a manner which both feels and is safe and secure.

"The streets and squares will all contain memorabilia and sensory landscaping to provide beneficial mental stimuli and thereby contribute to the wellbeing of residents.

"Having the freedom to roam in a village setting allows residents to experience the changing weather and seasons which stimulates their memories and reactions.

"Further, it encourages exercise and, consequently, improves fitness and sleep."

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