A project to refurbish a Grade 11 listed city landmark and construct an extra care housing scheme in the grounds to the rear of the building at Seafarers Way in Hendon, Sunderland, has gained national recognition in the RICS North East Renaissance Awards.
The £4.5m development, which is on the awards shortlist in both the Building Conservation and Regeneration categories, was delivered by Inclusion housing in partnership with Sunderland City Council and constructed by Keepmoat, with Sp&architects as project architects.
The project, at the Old Orphanage building, included the demolition of annexes and a derelict community centre.
The orphanage opened in 1861 and was purpose built accommodation for sons of seafarers, providing them with bed, clothes and a nautical education. The building now accommodates the East End Community Centre, along with a variety of office spaces.
Works to the refurbish the building were extensive as the structure had deteriorated considerably over the years. For example, the wide-ranging programme of external and internal works included the complete strip out of the interior to shell state and the replacement of all the windows and surrounds with specially made replicas of the originals.
Available to people over 55 with Alzheimer’s or a dementia diagnosis, the new housing constructed to the rear of the Old Orphanage comprises 38 one and two bedroom apartments within a single building, as well as a host of communal facilities.
These include: comfortable lounge areas; an exercise room; a restaurant/cafe providing breakfast, main meals and snacks; a participation kitchen to encourage residents activity and reminiscence; a hair salon; a healthy living suite; a spa bathing suite; a laundry; a guest room and landscaped gardens with a shed, greenhouse and raised gardening areas.
The scheme has been sympathetically designed to support people to live at home independently for longer with a dementia diagnosis. This includes the use of colour to support wayfinding in corridors and communal areas; contrasting toilet seats and handrails in toilet areas; free access shower rooms; open shelving and glazed cupboard doors to kitchens; local 1950s/1960s heritage images to encourage memory recall; conversation points and safe and secure landscaped garden areas which supports safe access to the ‘outdoors’.
Mark Kearney, Operations Director for Keepmoat, said: “This orphanage is a historic landmark within the city and Keepmoat are proud to have been involved in refurbishing it and bringing it back into use.
“To provide an extra care scheme within the grounds maximises the opportunities for the community alongside providing much needed, well designed and quality independent living for the city’s older households.”
David Brown, construction manager at Keepmoat, said:
“There is a big drive by Sunderland City Council to provide accommodation for people with dementia and Altzheimers and we are now working on two other schemes in the area which include provision for people with dementia – one including 30 out of 100 apartments and the other including 15 out of 171 apartments.
“Part of the planning conditions imposed by the council for the scheme were that we had to restore the old building in order to obtain permission to build behind it. We also had to demolish extensions to the original building, which had been constructed on an ad hoc basis over the last 100 years in order to clear the land to the rear for the new development.”
“This is the first project of this type which we have carried out where we have had two very different projects of this type on one site – each requiring sub contractors with very different skills.
“It was a very good project to work on. The Old Orphanage was in very bad condition and we almost had to rebuild it. Due to the building’s listed status, many of the items and materials used in the scheme had to be approved first, so progress was slow.”
“It was good to be recognised for our work – especially by a prestigious organisation such as RICS. It was very rewarding for both the site team and their site manager Stewart Barraclough, who did a great job.”
Shackletons is the UK’s leading provider of specialist seating and furniture for the healthcare sector. The company worked with Inclusion Housing to provide a full turn-key solution, from design, manufacture and installation of seating, bedroom, lounge and occasional furniture on the Seafarers Way project.
Sarah Thompson of Shackletons, said:
“It’s important for us as a company to demonstrate our expertise in this field and guide our customers towards a fit-for-purpose workable solution. Our aim is to future proof care projects to ensure individual needs are supported in an environment that has a home-from-home feeling.”