As a new decade kicked off, the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) announced that the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub has become the first public building in the world to achieve the DSDC’s Gold Award for dementia design.
The Warrington based project, designed by Walker Simpson Architects, constructed by BAM Construction, and operated by LiveWire, involved an extensive addition, refurbishment, and part‐change of use to a pre‐existing community sports complex. Although the project maintained the previous uses, a diverse and organisationally complex range of further functions and public community services was added to the building. This included adding a public library, pharmacy, allied health consulting rooms (including GPs), wellness suite, food/cafe outlet, conference spaces, meeting rooms, and offices for a number of different organisations.
Through the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub project, LiveWire and their supporters have been boldly, and simultaneously, addressing a long list of some of society’s major challenges leading into the future. Issues from wider society that are tackled in various ways include, climate change, public mental and physical health, cultural and generational disjoint. If we consider that they have realised this project in context of shrinking public resources, we get a real sense of the enormity of what has been, and is being, achieved here.
Three quarters of people dementia are living in the community, but until recently it seemed like we had a long way to go until public spaces and services had evolved to provide the types and levels of support that, as research evidence suggests, would help people with dementia to sustain maximum independence as well as maintaining optimal overall health.
However, LiveWire’s Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub now provides a ground-breaking example of how, public organisations, businesses, and the construction industry can, through the design of public buildings and the services they contain, make meaningful contributions to maintaining and improving public health and social-inclusion within our communities - including the increasing number of people living with dementia.
Warrington Borough Council and LiveWire’s success in achieving the highest quality of dementia and age-friendly design literally sets a new standard in dementia design quality for public buildings. We hope that the example set by this project shines a light for other organisations to show that it can be done, well, and beautifully!
Photos courtesy of Daniel Hopkinson