Designing the Future: The Evolution of Design for Older People in the UK

By David Hughes, Chief Executive, Pozzoni Architecture ltd, Altrincham, Cheshire, U.K. & Tracy Paine, Operations Director, Belong, Nantwich, Cheshire, U.K (Guest Post)

The Belong Villages have an established reputation for innovation; both in the quality of the design of the villages and the quality of care provided.

Evolving over more than a ten-year period, Belong are an established leader in dementia care; underpinned by values of giving people a sense of belonging, creating vibrant communities and nurturing positive relationships and outcomes.

Belong Villages offer:

• Nursing care with dementia in self-contained ‘households’
• Independent living apartments
• A village centre with a range of facilities open to the public
• Specialist day care service: Belong Experience Days
• Belong at Home domiciliary care, to support people in their own homes

Together, these services, along with specialist nursing care, provide a vibrant hub at the heart of the communities where the villages are located. The villages offer a ‘home for life’ for people to access Belong support.

Integral to the delivery of the Belong philosophy is the design of the Belong Villages. Pozzoni Architecture have worked closely with Belong during their journey to deliver the five competed villages and this partnership will continue to develop for the next five village projects.

The process began in 2005 with a Pozzoni worldwide study tour to explore the best of dementia design. This research, and translating worldwide best practice to the U.K. context, fed into the emerging design for the first village, Belong Macclesfield. The subsequent villages, located in the towns of Wigan, Crewe, Atherton and Warrington have ensured the developing evolution of the Belong Village model.

To further underpin the knowledge base, during 2016 Belong’s Operations Director, Tracy Paine, embarked on a global study tour to compare and contrast best practice in dementia design and dementia care worldwide with the Belong approach. Whilst each country and region will have their own legislative and cultural differences, there is a consistent approach across the leading facilities worldwide, including Belong, for best practice principles in dementia design and dementia care.

The future Belong Villages continue to progress the innovation:

• Belong Didsbury is a joint venture with a provider of care for the Jewish Community of South Manchester and includes specific cultural requirements.
• Belong Newcastle features the refurbishment of historic buildings and will include a heritage centre within the village.
• Belong Chester commands a prime canal-side location within the urban and historic town centre.
• Belong Wirral is a key component in the regeneration of a former industrial docklands site.
• Belong Birkdale will provide a new community hub within a residential area of this seaside resort town.

David Hughes of Pozzoni and Tracy Paine of Belong will share the story of Belong Villages and the worldwide influences and inspirations they’ve incorporated into their planning for the future at the 2017 IAHSA Global Ageing Conference.

About the Authors

David Hughes
David Hughes joined Pozzoni in 1984 after 4 years previous experience in Local Authority and Private Practice. Made a Partner in 1989, he was Senior Partner from 2007 to 2015 and is now Chairman. He has been involved with various forms of housing for older people since his qualification in 1983 and has particularly driven the debate on appropriate design for dementia in recent years. This has resulted in several innovative schemes designed by the Practice, culminating in 2008 with a Pinders / Caring Times National Care Award for best new ‘traditional’ Care Home in the UK and the Design & Health International Academy Award for ‘Best Elderly Care Project Worldwide’ in 2010. Most recently, in March 2012, the Practice won the ‘Best Design & Construction Company’ Award at the Laing & Buisson Independent Specialist Care Awards 2012.

Tracy Paine
Tracy Paine is the Operations Director for Belong award winning villages in the North West which will be opening its 6th village in Manchester in summer 2016. Tracy’s role involves the design, development, and operation of the Belong villages, designed to support older people on their journey from independent living to end of life care, recognising that this journey may not always be linear. Two thirds of village residents are living with dementia and the villages were designed from the outset to provide ‘a home for life’ through a continuum of care that can be flexible and adapt around each person’s changing needs. Tracy is Chair of the NCF Practice Forum and won Healthcare Design Champion in 2011. In 2016 Tracy was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to research housing and care facilities for older people in Australia and the United States.

 

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