Minister opens learning disability respite home in Dungannon

A NEW £1million purpose built facility providing respite care for adults with learning difficulties has been officially opened in Dungannon by the Health Minister.

Woodlawn House will provide respite for 50 people fromm the Armagh, Dungannon, Newry and Mourne areas.

Speaking at the opening, Michael McGimpsey said, “Woodlawn house is an excellent facility which will provide adults with a learning disability with a ‘home from home’ during their stay.”

He added “Woodlawn House provides a flexible approach to respite and is therefore ideal for families and carers of adults with a learning disability.”

He congratulated all those involved in the project.

Before the opening he also visited Longstone Hospital in Armagh and Orchard House in Loughgall. Longstone Hospital is an assessment and treatment centre for people with a learning disability. Orchard House is a Supported Living Unit.

Mr McGimpsey said, “Reforming learning disability services is a top priority for me. I am committed to making a difference in the lives of people with a learning disability by modernising the services they receive and helping them live independently in the community.”

Anne Balmer, Chairman of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said, “We’re delighted to show the Health Minister the hospital and community services available to adults with a learning disability.”

She added that many of the people who were resident in Orchard House were delighted with the support they receive from staff and the skills they have developed over the last two years.

The construction of Woodlawn House is another important move in improving the care options available for those with learning disabilities in the area.