The Maples Wellbeing Centre Opens in a New Home

The New Maples

THE MAPLES is on the move with the new centre location opening its doors to members on Monday 5th December.

The Council’s Wellbeing Day Care Centre, which will now be based at Rivermead Leisure Centre, will serve people with a range of needs and provide a much needed improvement to specialised day services for frail older people and people with physical disabilities.

The new centre is fully accessible, with its own separate, secure entrance to the right of the main leisure centre entrance and a new drop-off area right outside for mini buses and disabled parking. For those who can use public transport, the number 28 route serves the location with plans to introduce further services next year.

An underused wing of the leisure centre was re-developed to create the dedicated day care centre, suitable for people with higher level of care needs. The leisure centre operator, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), has been working positively with the council to ensure we are able to provide this new high quality centre.

The new hub offers a range of benefits, such a flexible space with movable dividers to make smaller rooms for different groups and easy access to existing leisure facilities and activities at the leisure centre. There is also free wifi throughout.

Members can enjoy an enclosed and secure garden area, which will include a pergola with seating and several raised planters to grow fruit and vegetables in the spring. The garden also provides quick access for walks along the riverside.

A group of existing day care users and their carers helped choose the new furniture and colour scheme, which is a light and airy visual impairment and dementia -friendly design. The group have formed a “Friends of The Maples” and will continue to support the centre in its new home. The Maples team are also appealing for volunteers to befriend people at the new centre.

The opening times will be the same as the old day centre at present but if there is enough demand, the new centre could potentially offer support at evenings and weekends.

Rachel Eden, Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, said:

“Reading Council remains fully committed to supporting older and disabled people in our community in spite of the scale of Government budget cuts. Our Day Service is a valued part of that.

“This move has provided a fantastic chance to continue the good work achieved at the old Maples site and to create some exciting new opportunities for members. The new facilities have been completed to a high spec and I’m sure the introduction of a specially designed garden, with riverside access, will be welcomed by all the centre’s members.”

Notes for Editors:

Existing day care service at The Maples in West Reading will relocate from Monday 5th December to the new centre, and that building will close with minimal disruption to services. Issues with the building and lack of energy efficiency mean the old centre is no longer practically or financially viable. Attendance has declined and was expected to reduce further if nothing is done to change the situation. There was a necessity to respond to changing user needs and preferences and to ensure the service is able to support those with more complex needs.

The move has taken place in partnership with service users, users’ relatives and carers, voluntary sector partners, community groups and care staff following an initial consultation in early 2015.

The new centre is part of a wider project looking at improving day services for people with a range of needs, including older people, disabled people with complex needs, those with learning difficulties and mental health disabilities.

The Council is also developing other community services throughout Reading that may offer a better option for other older people to forge links within their neighbourhoods.

The proposal to move the Maples to a new location went before the Council’s Adult Social Care Board on 5th November. View the full report


Victoria Nickless

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