Residents who live at Belmont Court in Upper Parkstone have celebrated the completion of a PHP refurbishment project which has seen the extra care scheme benefit from new foyers, a modernised lounge and dining room, improved heating, a new lift, rooftop solar panels, and a beautiful sensory garden built by a team of local volunteers.
The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Ann Stribley, visited the re-vamped Belmont Court, which is home to 38 residents with varying support and care needs, to meet residents and their families. PHP has invested close to £500,000 to bring the building up to ‘extra care’ standard, and provide enhanced facilities that enable residents to live independently in their own homes.
Belmont Court is a Borough of Poole extra care scheme with daytime housing staff and nighttime carers. Extra care aims to reduce hospital admissions while helping people live independently longer, reducing the need for residential care. With the number of older people living in Poole rising, and an increasing number of very elderly people requiring higher levels of care, the new-look scheme is set to provide the level of support needed to enable these residents to remain part of their community.
Much of Belmont Court has been re-decorated, with new flooring, better lighting and brand new furnishings – all of which residents have had a hand in selecting – and a second, much-needed lift has been installed at the rear of the building. Communal areas have been improved to encourage residents to socialise and join in with a packed programme of activities, ranging from bingo nights to lunch clubs, memory cafes and art classes.
The centrepiece of the works is a part-Health & Wellbeing Legacy-funded sensory garden, which has significantly improved the outside space and provides stimulating experiences for residents, some of whom suffer from poor mobility, limited sight and other long-term conditions.
Over the course of four months, volunteers – including a dozen members of staff from PHP – donated their time to build pergolas, seating areas, raised beds and a summer house, and lay evergreen plants, attractive wood chipping and a glorious green lawn. With support from Wimborne-based architects DMWA, hard-landscaping specialists Fletchamoore and Colonial Contractors, and PHP contractor Novus Property Solutions, they have helped turn the tired back garden into an inviting outside space for residents and their families to enjoy.
The garden has been split into four distinct sensory zones, each with its own theme and features. In addition to the south garden, which also features a BBQ area for residents’ summer parties, a ‘wildlife walk’ area has been created with elevated views of Poole Harbour, and a courtyard which, with its evergreen pines, rosemary and euphorbias, evoke smells reminiscent of summer holidays.
“It’s amazing to see how Belmont Court has been transformed in just a few months,” said PHP’s Jon-Paul Elwart, who managed the refurbishment project. “Residents have very much been at the centre of the project, from suggesting ideas for the interior design, to picking up hoses to water the new garden! We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has been involved, including a loyal group of volunteers, for their hard work and commitment during the works.”
Lynn Piper, PHP housing support locality manager, added: “The improvements we’ve made at Belmont Court will especially help residents who have sensory loss or dementia; for example, the hand rails and the artwork displayed on each floor have been colour-coded, so people recognise where they are. Our objective was to make Belmont Court a much nicer place to live and residents are delighted with the results.”