New daycare facility opens as part of a multi-million scheme to deliver new special school
Enhanced day care services have been provided in Newark, paving the way for a long-awaited new special school to be built.
People who use day care facilities in Balderton have transferred to a newly-renovated Woods Court in Newark.
The move allows the day care centre off London Road, Balderton, to be demolished as the first phase of a £15m scheme to create a new Orchard School.
The Orchard — recognised to have the worst buildings in Nottinghamshire — is currently split between sites at London Road and Appletongate, Newark, but will be centralised in the one location offering state-of-the-art facilities.
It is envisaged the school will be ready to take pupils from June of next year.
Woods Court, a former county council residential home that had closed on Walker Close, has been renovated to allow its use for one-year before it too will be returned to London Road in a new purpose-built centre.
The centre will be built on the site of the former Grove Leisure Centre, which was raised to the ground by arsonists, after it had shut and been boarded up.
The new Orchard School will be its neighbour on what is a site that is already in county council ownership.
It can cater for 100 people, from age 18 upwards, with varying degrees of learning or physical disabilities or elderly folk with dementia who are fully integrated.
It has 29 staff.
It offers a range of activities to keep minds active and fitness levels up.
Nottinghamshire County Council is behind the development, which is also part-funded by Government thanks to lobbying by Newark MP Robert Jenrick.
It is being delivered by Arc Partnership, designers of public spaces, as a joint venture with the county council and public sector-owned procurement specialists, Scape Group.
Day service leader Angela Bullimore said it had been a seamless transition and everyone was impressed with the new facilities.
These include communal areas for games, arts and crafts and activities, dance, a coffee bar, medical rooms, beauty and pampering salon and a sensory room.
There is new flooring and lighting throughout the ground floor, new entrance foyer and an outside seating area.
David Smith, project manager for the Arc Partnership, said the work had been done to a high standard, while the budget reflected that Woods Court would only be in use for a year.
“This represents the first stage completion of this scheme ahead of the demolition of the old daycare centre and the construction of a new Orchard School — something which has been called for for a very long time,” Mr Smith said.
Stuart Wallace, chairman of the county council’s adult social care and public health committee, toured the building on Tuesday.
Mr Wallace said the new facility allowed all users to fully integrate — something that hadn’t been possible at the previous site.
“Phase one is complete on a scheme that will provide two really top quality facilities,” he said.