UK charity Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) marked the ‘topping out’ of its new Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Leatherhead, Surrey and asked disabled resident Ben Rycraft to take a star role. The milestone event celebrated the £15 million development reaching it’s highest point and imminent completion of the roof. When the new state-of-art building opens in Spring 2020 it will be a centre of expertise for people with a wide range of disabilities, helping people to maximise their independence.
Guests included QEF’s president Corinna, Lady Hamilton of Dalzell DL, resident Ben Rycraft and supporters of the charity committed to the development of this centre of expertise. Everyone was invited to write a message on individual roof tiles and then watch as these tiles were added to the roof. QEF resident Ben Rycraft was given the star opportunity of adding his name to the highest brick on the building, the corner stone of the chimney, and this was also put into position during the event. Ben has cerebral palsy and uses a communication aid attached to his powered wheelchair. He enjoys preparing his own meals, with some support, and the freedom and privacy to decide how he spends his time. Ben says, “I like being in control and choosing what to do.” With the QEF team supporting him Ben sets his own goals for the future and is hugely excited about moving into his new home with QEF next year.
This is the first new build in QEF’s 85 year history and the largest ever investment in their facilities. By combining both existing residential services under one roof, QEF plans to develop an innovative, person-centred residential service. Each person, whether they have an acquired brain injury or a life-long complex disability, will receive a personalised programme of expert therapy and care, in a modern and comfortable environment.
The expert multi-disciplinary teams that will be brought together include physiotherapy teams, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists, specialist nursing staff, life coaches and activity coordinators.
Chief Executive, Karen Deacon, said “QEF is committed to providing expert services that enable people with acquired or life-long disabilities to maximise their independence and live the life they choose. Due to open in Spring 2020, our Care and Rehabilitation Centre will offer a residential service that brings several of our expert multi-disciplinary teams together, enabling us to support the needs of each individual with personalised care and therapy. “
“Residents will benefit from the latest assistive technology and equipment. It will be a comfortable place for people to live or rebuild their lives, surrounded by beautiful Surrey countryside and access to local towns, so that we can create a more inclusive and integrated community.”
QEF is still raising funds to support the costs of developing this new centre, so they can build futures and change the lives of many more disabled people. Donations are funding the latest equipment for the therapy rooms, a fully accessible physiotherapy gym, 48 ensuite bedrooms; some with additional kitchenettes and all with assistive technology, residents training kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as spacious dining rooms and multiple recreation and social spaces.
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