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New care home ready for first residents

Published: 11 June 2020

A brand new state-of-the-art care home is now open and ready to welcome its first Derbyshire residents to rest and recuperate after suffering from coronavirus.

Councillor Barry Lewis with staff outside Nightingale care home
Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis with staff outside the brand new Nightingale care home

Staff and contractors have put the finishing touches to our Florence Nightingale Care Home in Belper which has received its Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration.

The care centre is part of our larger £10 million development that includes a new library for the town. It was purpose built to replace the ageing Ada Belfield care home on Field Lane, but will temporarily be used exclusively to accept people discharged from hospital who need to rest, recuperate and isolate after suffering from COVID-19 but aren’t yet ready to go home.

It’s been a huge team effort to get the care home ready during the pandemic, from contractors Robertson Construction Group and architects Glancy Nicholls - who have designed it to the highest dementia-friendly standards - to all the council staff supporting the project throughout.

Praising the huge amount of work to get things finished in time, our Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said the teamwork – from council care and building staff to contractors – had been phenomenal.

Councillor Lewis said:

“This is an amazing new development built to the highest specifications and dementia-friendly standards with en-suite bathrooms which makes it particularly suitable to support residents in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

“By adapting our plans we’ve been able to support Derbyshire’s wider healthcare system at one of the most difficult times in its history and I’d like to thank everyone for pulling out all the stops to make sure we can help Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents.”

The brand new 40-bed unit, set over 2 floors, is built on the former Thornton’s factory site on Derwent Street. But plans to open it as a conventional care home are currently on hold.

For now, it is opening with 10 beds, with the potential to expand to 20.

Councillor Lewis said:

“By opening Ada Belfield as a Nightingale-style unit we will be able to help people to leave hospital and care for them to become well enough to go home, or the place they call home, separate from other vulnerable people.

“We hope the current residents of the old Ada Belfield home will bear with us at this challenging time.”

Coming out of retirement to help support the home is one of our most experienced former care managers, Thelma Quince.

Previously a service manager with adult care, Thelma retired from the council last year after 34 years’ service. She responded to an appeal for former staff to come back to help out in difficult times and support colleagues she’s worked with for years.

Working with the unit manager Penny Collinge, who has 37 years’ experience in care, Thelma, who lives in Belper, said:

“I realised the pandemic would have a big impact on the council and although I can’t work with clients at the moment, I felt I could help in the background with some of the administrative, managerial tasks to relieve pressure on others.”

Our Cabinet Member for Adult Care Councillor Jean Wharmby said she wanted to thank everyone for pulling together at such a difficult time.

Councillor Wharmby said:

“The dedication of the care team to get the home ready to welcome its first residents has been outstanding and I’d like to thank Penny and her team for all they’ve done”

“I’d also like to thank Thelma for coming back to support the council during the coronavirus pandemic and playing a vital role in supporting the unit.

“Everyone has been brilliant. The new care home is a fantastic place and will offer a lovely caring environment where people will be able to rest and recuperate in a beautiful setting.”

The library, which is part of the development, is completed and we will follow government advice on when it can open.