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Oakwell Respite Centre, Jersey

The renovation of Oakwell Respite Centre in Jersey has been completed following a six month project.

The centre, owned by the States of Jersey Property Holdings and rented by the island’s Health and Social Services, acts as a short stay respite home offering children with disabilities a place to relax either with or without family members.

We caught up with Andrew Harvey, Director at project architects Andrew Harvey Architects, to find out more about the scheme. Andrew commented:

“We were called in by Health and Social Services who were the initial client to carry out the refurbishment on Oakwell. The site has always been a children’s respite home but it wasn’t fit for purpose as it was in a very poor condition. We became involved in the development in September 2012 and works began on site in December 2013.

“The project completed in June 2014; we had a six month contract in which works had to be completed within because the home had to run a reduced service from Maison Des Landes Hotel during the renovation project. Moving there temporarily was costing the service money and so the timeframe had to be stuck to.”

Larson Contracting acted as the main contractors, working alongside Andrew Harvey Architects to meet the client’s brief of updating the whole building to current standards. Half of the original structure was retained and the rest was demolished and rebuilt.

The brief was open-ended and required the architects to look at the whole building and come up with a solution. The centre’s swimming pool has been retained as have two of the bedrooms which were fairly new. The site now contains four principal bedrooms, which each has room for one child, as well as a spare, overflow bedroom which is utilised as a staff bedroom.

The retained plunge pool has been refurbished and hoists have been installed to cover most of the floor areas in the centre including the bedrooms, changing rooms, pool area, as well as the bathroom and shower room. The hoists create flexibility for the children allowing them to navigate the centre with more ease.

A brand new bathroom has also been created as part of the project with the installation of a state of the art bath and new wet room and shower space. The on site team also tackled the centres changing levels throughout the building in order to create an easier space for the staff and children to navigate through.

Oakwell Respite Centre, Jersey

Part of the scheme involved widening the one storey buildings corridors as well as making sure all of the doors were of an adequate width for wheelchairs. The outside of the building has been repainted and the roofs have been recovered.

However inside the building the brief was to make the space as homely as possible. Health and Social Services did not want Oakwell to feel clinical and so Andrew Harvey Architects worked closely with the clients to produce products that were functional and hygienic in a homely environment.

The building has timber effect floors and colourful paint has been used on the walls creating splashes of vibrancy throughout the building. The building also has big roof lights in the living area which brightens the space up.

Each of the bedrooms has a slightly different colour theme, with strong colours used in each. Murals have been used on the bedroom walls to give each room a different feel. A domestic kitchen has been installed to make the space feel more homely; this type of kitchen will be more familiar to the children staying there.

Oakwell’s main purpose is to provide day and night time respite for disabled children, most of which are wheelchair users, as well offering facilities for the children to enjoy in the day. Health and Social Services have a number of respite homes across the island varying in specialities.

The team did encounter a few difficulties during the project including the discovery of asbestos at the beginning of the scheme. That had to be cleared before the main works could begin; apart from the asbestos the development ran smoothly.

Andrew Harvey added:

“It is a great pleasure to be involved in a project like this as you can see the kids you are doing the work for. I have got a lot of satisfaction from this scheme and the feedback has been great. Knowing we’ve met our brief, done a project right and everyone is happy with the results is great.”

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