HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, opened a brand new facility in Dorset yesterday – the Livability Spinal Injury Centre at Holton Lee.
Based in the grounds of the wellbeing discovery centre, set in 350 acres of Dorset countryside, the new service is part of the national charity, Livability. The Livability Spinal Injury Centre will provide respite and rehabilitation services to people with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Building on and maintaining rehabilitation skills learnt in specialist NHS SCI services, the new centre will focus on providing visitors with a range of practical support to equip them for life beyond their cord injury. Visitors can also benefit from the services of the broader wellbeing site. Operating on a residential basis with some drop-in services, the centre is aiming to open officially as a service by April 2017, following registration process completion.
The Princess Royal visited the site for the official venue opening and ceremony. The event was attended by local dignitaries, health and spinal injury services, supporters, donors, service users and members of the local community. In her comments about opening the Spinal Injury Centre, Her Royal Highness said, “It makes perfect sense,” alongside the broader offering and services of the site. Referencing the value of other spinal injury services, she commented that the centre would make a valuable contribution, “Adding to the knowledge and skills here and opening the doors for a very specific kind of support. It will promote support requirements for those that have been spinally injured and I look forward to what the achievements of these facilities can bring.”
The Centre will have spaces for up to 13 people to stay at any one time and will offer them specially designed, accessible facilities that feel like a ‘home from home’ environment. They will benefit from the centre’s independence kitchen, fully accessible en-suite rooms and indoor therapy gym, as well as a dedicated team providing personalised and bespoke packages of rehabilitation and support. The project has been backed with funding from the charitable foundations: The Bradbury Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and The Talbot Village Trust.
The Princess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening, with one of the wings of the building being named The Bradbury Wing. She was taken on a tour of the wellbeing discovery centre, having opportunities to see the Flourish Programme (a horticultural therapy project for disabled people); arts and ceramics studios; riding and carriages stables and other activities designed to support people’s wellbeing. She also met Peter Thompson – a Bournemouth-based runner who has set himself a sporting challenge called ‘Marathons for the Mind’ to run 44 marathons, in 44 days in 44 countries to raise awareness for mental health and funds for Livability.