Parents of disabled children were very impressed with a new state-of-the-art children’s unit when the doors to Rainbow House were opened to families for the very first time.
Leeds City Council and the Leeds Independent Living Accommodation Company (LiLAC) held an open day for parents of disabled children to see how work is progressing on the new short break unit in Armley.
As facilities were revealed for the very first time, parents were given the chance to review the high specification accommodation, which includes 12 individual bedrooms, each with en-suite facilities. The unit has been designed with flexibility in mind and is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Rainbow House will enable children and young adults to gain confidence with short breaks away from their parents, with the aim of preparing them for greater independence in adult life.
Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“This open day provided parents with a great opportunity to discover what state-of-the-art facilities their children will soon be enjoying at Rainbow House.
“The short breaks service is already well used, providing families with respite from their caring duties, at the same time as giving disabled young people opportunities to make new friends and have new experiences of life. The improved facilities and surroundings offered at Rainbow House will help us expand and help even more children benefit from this important service.”
Throughout the whole project, from the initial planning stages through to the design, layout and choice of facilities the project consortium has worked closely with parents, children and care experts to deliver accommodation tailored to the specialised needs of its residents. The name ‘Rainbow House’ was chosen by one of the children. The level of involvement and input from future residents has even extended to the children selecting furnishings and decoration within the new building and they have also been consulted on which play equipment they would like to see in the garden area.
Rainbow House is a unique development in the high profile £80 million PFI Independent Living Project, as it represents the only facility designed specifically to provide short break care for children and young people. The Independent Living Project sees the council working in partnership with Progress Care Housing Association, Jack Lunn (Properties) Ltd and MJ Gleeson Plc to deliver 75 purpose-built, modern homes across 41 sites in Leeds for individuals with learning difficulties and mental health needs.
Jack Lunn (Construction) Ltd is the design and build contractor responsible for the construction of the properties, including the children’s unit. Powerminster Gleeson Services, part of the M J Gleeson Group plc, will provide the repairs and maintenance service over the 25 year contract period and are also working with the construction partner installing the new electrical installation work. Progress Care Housing Association act as housing management providers for the adult centres within the LiLAC scheme.
The project consortium has already scooped a top national honour for Best Community/User Involvement in the recent Public Private Finance Awards, and it is this ethos of collaboration and engagement that has driven the successful Rainbow House development.
Stephen Bradbury, managing director for Pudsey-based Jack Lunn (Construction) Ltd who designed and built Rainbow House, added:
“There is a palpable feeling of excitement as we unveil the new building to the parents, whose children will benefit so greatly from the superb range of facilities available at Rainbow House. It’s an extremely special moment to be able to see the realisation of the hard work and contributions made by so many people to the success of this important regional project.”