Construction begins on new spinal unit


Stepnell to refurbish Dorset charity base as spinal support centre

Construction work has started on a new spinal unit at a charity base in Dorset.

Stepnell has begun a refurbishment project to create a spinal support centre at Livability Holton Lee in East Holton.

Located at the heart of a 350-acre nature reserve near Poole, Livability Holton Lee is a wellbeing discovery centre providing opportunities for people of all abilities to develop physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. The centre is a specialist in disability care and mental health.

As part of the project, Stepnell is refurbishing two linked, one and two-storey buildings on the site.

The former self-catering accommodation will be upgraded to a short-stay residential space that will provide specialist support to people recovering from spinal injuries.

The work will include the widening of ground-floor doors for easy wheelchair access and the infill of two ground-floor external areas to create additional internal rooms.

And all rooflights on the first floor will be replaced with longer windows to allow wheelchair users to appreciate the views.

In addition, external windows and doors will be replaced and the front entrance will be equipped with new sliding doors. Waste bins will also be relocated to a discrete walled enclosure.

The centre provides a step-down care service which helps clients prepare for the transition from hospital to home by providing a domestic-style atmosphere that allows them to explore the limits and possibilities of their situation in a safe environment.

Up to 13 people at a time will be able to stay in the new spinal centre where they can take advantage of the new domestically-designed facilities including an independence kitchen and an indoor physiotherapy space.

“Unique centres such as Livability Holton Lee that provide purpose-built facilities are unfortunately few and far between,” says Robert Speirs, regional director for Stepnell.

“When completed at the end of this year, the new spinal unit will enable more people to benefit from the centre’s excellent respite facilities and specialist step-down care.”

Liz Mell, Livability’s executive director of operations, added: “Livability is a charity that is committed to helping the people we support overcome barriers in their lives, so they can continue to live full and independent lives in their community.

“Our new facility at Livability Holton Lee will be a state-of-the-art support centre for people recovering from spinal injury. It will provide specialist rehabilitation services in a home-from-home environment focused on equipping people to manage life back at home and in their community.

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“As part of our broader wellbeing centre, visitors will benefit from Holton Lee’s beautiful and supportive environment in which to build the skills and confidence to adapt to a life-changing injury.”