By Senior Management Team

June 7th, 2016

Gold Awards to Sir Thomas Allen Centre and The Cottage at Rose Lodge Dementia Community

DSDC would like to congratulate Sir Thomas Allen Centre & The Cottage at Rose Lodge Dementia Community on receiving a DSDC GOLD award for their design.

Chief Architect Lesley Palmer confirmed the awards were given in recognition of the commitment to deliver high-quality, well-considered spaces which are dementia-inclusive in their design.

The Essence Service is managed by Age UK Sunderland and provides support and information to people recently diagnosed with dementia and their carers. The service is provided within a refurbished single storey building (previously a library). The Sir Thomas Allen Centre is the first charity to have their facility awarded a gold.

  • The day centre is open-plan and therefore legible by design. Signage is also provided to all area
  • The acoustic performance of the space was considered good. This can be difficult to achieve in open plan design but the overall scale was appropriate, as was the extent of soft furnishings.
  • Achieving a gold within the constraints of an existing building can be complex and involves careful consideration of use, structure and service


Rose Lodge, cottage and bungalow comprise a set of residential communities for people with dementia. Rose Lodge has 22 residents in the later stages of dementia, Rose Cottage has 9 in the early to mid- stages and the bungalow, which is located between them, can be either.  The Cottage was opened in June 2015 and was the specific subject of the audit.

There were numerous examples of best practice 

  • The matching of all the flooring in tone was exemplary
  • The Cottage had a very domestic atmosphere
  • It was very easy to navigate owing to the open plan living quarters with bedrooms (of which there were only 9) opening into this.
  • The kitchen servery was exemplary and we were delighted that it seemed to be the hub of the home
  • The unobstructed access to garden spaces, which were of a good quality design was commended, as was the extent of meaningful activity which it offered.
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