Architect delivers new £450k respite facility for autism charity
Edward Architecture has completed a £450,000 project to design and deliver a new, purpose-built short stay respite facility for Wirral charity Autism Together.
The Maples, a nine-bed development in Raby, Bromborough, was built to offer more flexible accommodation to suit the needs of a wide variety of people with autism and their families.
Lead designer on the project from the early concept stage through to completion on site, Edward Architecture redeveloped and redesigned the existing building, formerly known as Helen House, alongside Birkenhead contractor North West Construction over an eight month period, under COVID restrictions.
The respite service for people aged 16 and over on the autism spectrum aims to give families, parents and carers the chance to take a break from their caring role, offering between a few hours and up to two weeks’ support.
Edward Architecture has a proven track record in accessible design, one of its core sectors, along with housing and masterplanning, and the team’s expertise was paramount in this project, using thoughtful architectural design to provide freedom of movement for all with both the physical and mental health of its users at the heart of the process.
One principle design feature implemented by Edward Architecture was to widen the very narrow corridors, which can be a source of anxiety for people with autism.
The new building now provides more light, open, user-friendly spaces and offers a self-contained apartment, shared living areas and accommodation for those with mobility problems.
Managing director, Graham Edward, said: “We are delighted to deliver this new short stay respite development for Autism Together in a very challenging environment due to the pandemic.
“It is also fantastic to see our design culture is helping to change lives. This is an incredibly important charity which supports more than 400 people on the autism spectrum and we know this new facility will be a great resource for local people who can access first class specialist services operating by the charity.”
Sue Stubbs, Autism Together chief executive, said: “It’s exciting to see our new respite service complete and ready to welcome people to stay.
“This service is purpose-built to cater for the support of people aged 16 and over on the autism spectrum, including those with additional care needs.
“Everyone needs a break from their caring responsibilities and offering respite support to families and carers is a vital and important part of our services.
“The Maples offers individuals a choice of accommodation, with a shared five-bed unit, a three-bed unit, alongside a single-service flat, allowing for up to nine individuals to access the service at full capacity.”
The respite service will be open every day, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Autism Together, based in Bromborough, has operations across Wirral, West Cheshire and North Wales, supporting people of all ages on the autism spectrum, with circa 1,000 staff and providing residential, supported living and day services to more than 400 individuals.