Minister opens multi-million pound adult resource centre in Lisburn

A NEW £3.5m state of the art Assessment and Resource Centre for clients with a range of disabilities in Lisburn has been officially opened by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.

Lisburn Assessment and Resource Centre was created to provide an environment for a specific client group which encourages flexibility and integration. The centre has capacity for 120 trainees who have a range of learning disabilities, additional physical disabilities and/or sensory impairment and also provides specialist assessment and treatment for up to 30 clients with more complex needs.

The clients are supported by a range of staff including a Registered Manager, Senior/Day Care Workers, Behaviour Support Workers and Care Assistants. The Centre offers an accessible, safe and secure environment and provides a range of specialist services including Social Work, Behaviour Support Service, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy.

The original Assessment and Resource Centre was situated on the same site in Wallace Avenue and was demolished in May 2008 to make way for the new build.

From April 2008 and while the new build was under construction, staff and clients temporarily relocated to mobile units on Lagan Valley Hospital site to ensure service provision was not interrupted.

Lisburn Assessment and Resource Centre is a large day centre for adults with learning disabilities and provides opportunities for those clients with complex and intensive support needs.

Fully equipped and completed to a high quality design specification as legislated within the Disability Discrimination Act, the facility meets the specific needs of clients particularly with regard to access, activities and treatment.

In addition, there are two indoor sensory gardens, two multi sensory suites, computer suite and an independent training flat to help development of skills in day to day living.

The Carers Forum, parents, carers, trainees and staff have all been closely involved with the development and design of the Centre with regular meetings taking place to agree colour schemes, furniture and interior gardens. A wide range of groups liaised very closely to ensure the needs of the client were met on every level and to the highest possible specification.

Officially opening the centre, the Health Minister said: “I welcome the opportunity to open this wonderful new centre and to meet with the professionals who are pivotal in making this day centre a success. Of course I have also had the privilege of meeting some of the people who will be able to avail of the excellent facilities, training and activities available here.

The care, dedication and skill of the staff and the commitment of clients and carers is an inspiration to us all.”

Lisburn’s Deputy Mayor, Alderman Paul Porter, who was asked to speak at the opening of the centre, thanked everyone who worked to bring the project to life. He also urged the Health Minister to build similar centres throughout Northern Ireland.

“It was a great honour and privilege for me to speak at the opening of the centre,” he said. “This project has taken almost nine years to come to this stage and as Chairman of the working group formed to look at the development of the site, I would like to thank all the members of the working group for their tireless efforts.

“I would also like to make special mention of the carers who spent many hours working on the project, which is a testament to their dedication.

“I wish all the users and staff many happy years in this flagship centre,” he added.

Bria Mongan, Assistant Director, Disability Services said: “We are delighted with the new centre which will contribute greatly towards the client experience and promoting new skills. Having service users and their families involved in the planning and design of this facility has greatly enhanced the service”.

Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn said: “This is a vital resource for adults with learning difficulties and their families. Everyone deserves the chance to have an independent life and this centre will provide excellent training. This centre is a world of improvement from the previous centre and I am very pleased that Lisburn has it.”