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£1.3m revamp of two Ipswich bungalows for people with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 14:54 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:54 15 September 2020

The NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIX

The NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIX

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A £1.3million revamp of two bungalows for people with learning difficulties in Ipswich has got under way.

The NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Pictured is Susie Howlett, service lead for the learning disability and autism specialist service at the NSFT. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIXThe NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Pictured is Susie Howlett, service lead for the learning disability and autism specialist service at the NSFT. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIX

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is carrying out the extensive revamp of the buildings at its Walker Close facility, so they are comfortable and welcoming environments which will improve safety for patients.

It will see each bungalow’s four bedrooms and shared bathrooms replaced with three en-suite bedrooms, which the NSFT says will improve the privacy and dignity of patients.

Porches will be added to the front of the buildings to provide an extra door for safety and added security, while CCTV will also be installed.

Pat Long, NSFT associate director, said: “Our teams are really excited about this project and delighted that the trust is investing such a significant sum to upgrade this dated accommodation.

The NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Susie Howlett, service lead for the learning disability and autism specialist service at the NSFT. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIXThe NSFT has started a £1.3million revamp of two bungalows at its Walker Close facility in Ipswich. Susie Howlett, service lead for the learning disability and autism specialist service at the NSFT. Picture: NSFT/PAGEPIX

“The bungalows provide 24/7 care for people with learning disabilities or autism who are experiencing additional mental health issues, or other challenging behaviours which are difficult to manage within the community.

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“As such, it is vital that the environment is as calming and homely as possible.

“Staff have worked really closely with our service users while planning this upgrade and have made sure they are fully involved with decisions on colour schemes, furnishings and overall design. This is really important as they will be the ones using the space so it is vital that they can have their say on how the buildings will look and feel.”

Susie Howlett, service lead for the learning disability and autism specialist service at the NSFT, said: “Some really nice touches have been included in the design, such as pictures of windmills, the sea and beach huts which will be added to doors to help patients to identify their bedrooms.

“These images will double as visibility apertures which staff can open to check that service users are safe, again helping the bungalows look less clinical.

“Work is also taking place to upgrade the communal areas and kitchens so that staff can support service users to do their own washing and prepare simple meals to build up their confidence and independence as they get ready for discharge.

“Medical equipment in the bungalows will be upgraded while ensuring it is stored out of sight as much as possible to continue the homely feel.”

Work on both bungalows should be complete by early 2021.


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