FWP delivers showcase mental health rehabilitation centre

An inspiring mental health rehabilitation centre in Lancashire has been handed over to the NHS.

Leading architect, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) was appointed by Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft) to deliver the £9.4million centre.

FWP, headquartered in Preston, led on the redevelopment of an existing hospital building at Wesham, which had stood empty for more than eight years. The construction work on the project was carried out by the Eric Wright Group.

A “community facing rehabilitation service” will now be based in the refurbished building on Mowbreck Lane, which includes a modern, timber-clad extension.

The new Wesham Rehabilitation Centre has 28 en-suite bedrooms for people who have been in hospital and need support to regain skills and confidence with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and looking after their own health and wellbeing.

Expansive gardens and outdoor therapy areas make full use of the site. The centre also includes quiet lounges and a ‘MasterChef style’ communal kitchen where residents can cook all their own meals with staff support.

Community space has also been included within the new entrance block to encourage use of the centre by local people, in partnership with the trust.

Martin Whittle, FWP partner, said: “We have used all our experience that we have built up in the mental health sector over several years to deliver this important community project.

“It really is a showcase of how far mental health design has progressed in recent years and the leading role FWP’s specialist team has played in that development.

“The team involved has worked extremely hard with the trust to create a unit that is both warm and welcoming and has a distinct non-clinical feel throughout.

“We believe the result is a stand-out facility that will help people to live independent lives back in the community.

David Simmons, FWP associate partner, added: “User and clinical engagement meetings have allowed the design to evolve into a unit that is totally removed from people’s traditional view of a hospital environment.

“Our design encompasses lots of open access spaces, a reception area that is warm and welcoming, a central living space that contacts the two bedrooms wings which is a truly uplifting space for day-to-day relaxing and engagement with full access to an exceptional garden where residents can grow and nurture their own produce.

“The centre is also working with a local charity to encourage residents to get involved in growing produce in the standout therapy gardens that have been created. Produce grown by the residents can be then cooked in the impressive Master Chef style kitchens and later sold in the community café with the centre entrance.

Joanna Stark, director of operations for the Fylde Coast at LSCft, added: “We are incredibly proud to launch this new offering to our service users and to help bridge the gap between acute treatment and re-integrating people back into the community.

“The service will have a positive impact on existing service users and benefit new service users in need of a different kind of support. We aim to help people with long-term mental health conditions, manage their own care and give them back the independence and lifestyle they deserve. 

“Our team and partners have worked incredibly hard over the past two years to open the Wesham Rehabilitation Centre, a service that hopes to involve neighbours when we open our doors for local community events.

“We hope the Wesham centre will pave the way for future mental health rehabilitation services across the region.”

The Wesham centre is just one of several important refurbishment projects that FWP has worked on for the trust, which provides a range of mental health services for communities in Lancashire and south Cumbria.

Its specialist provision includes inpatient child and adolescent mental health services, perinatal mental health and forensic services including low and medium secure care. The trust also provides a range of physical health and well-being services in the community.

FWP’s specialist mental health team also redesigned the ‘Skylark’ unit in Preston for the trust. This rehabilitation unit is now helping patients recovering from mental health conditions regain the skills associated with day-to-day living.

And several of its patients will be among the first to use Wesham on their pathway back to living in the community.

FWP appointed a strong team of experienced consultants to help deliver the Wesham unit, including Cheadle Hulme-based TACE, which provided mechanical and electrical design support.

TRP Consulting, based in Manchester and Preston, provided civil engineering and structural design and Manchester-headquartered Urban Green has delivered the impressive ecology and external landscape designs.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester, and London, has a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector.