His Royal Highness met residents and staff as he toured the c £8m care centre in Devizes, run by charity The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT). He watched a game of skittles/curling, and was offered some home baking before popping in to the residents’ bar for a chat. He then joined assembled guests for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening of the care centre.
His Royal Highness was shown around the new care centre by Wiltshire Area Operations Manager Mrs Alison Stenning, who said: “We’re all absolutely delighted that The Duke of Edinburgh has done us the honour of coming to open Hayward Care Centre to recognise the link with a local hero. All our residents and staff have been really looking forward to meeting him and to show off our beautiful new home.”
The care centre is named in honour of local hero Reginald Hayward, who served throughout World War I and, in addition to the Military Cross and bar, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for valour, for his actions in 1918 when serving in 1st Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment. To recognise the honour, a special feature of the visit was the participation of members of The Rifles Regiment of which The Duke of Edinburgh is Colonel in Chief.
During his visit, His Royal Highness met representatives of the organisations involved in bringing this project to fruition. These included architects (Hunters), developers (Brackley Investments) and the construction company (Stepnell Construction), as well as the design specialists responsible for the innovative “household” layout and interior design to help enhance the living environment for older people living with dementia. County dignitaries and representatives from local and regional community organisations were also present to celebrate this special occasion.
His Royal Highness was also able to meet several residents, one of whom, Mrs Betty Key (92) invited him to look at her room.
Mrs Key said: “It was a great honour and a pleasure to meet The Duke of Edinburgh and I really enjoyed talking to him. It has been very exciting having such an important Royal visitor at our home to lead our celebrations.”
After unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the care centre, and wishing everyone living and working at Hayward Care Centre the best of luck in their new home, His Royal Highness concluded his visit by signing the Visitors’ Book.
The Hayward Care Centre has replaced two existing care homes in Devizes, (Anzac House and Southfield) and will provide a range of services to meet the care and support needs of the local community, most particularly those requiring specialist dementia care.
Equipped with a total of 80 bedrooms, each complete with a 24-hour call system and cutting edge technology to help promote a safer environment, the care centre is arranged around cosy and comfortable home style living areas, each with a kitchen, lounge and dining area.
With a shop, tearoom and hair salon situated inside the building and specially-designed landscaped gardens, complete with a sensory area featuring raised planters, vegetable patches and water features, Hayward creates a stimulating, easy-to-navigate environment for its residents.
Residents and staff are also supported by OSJCT’s own specialist Dementia UK-trained St John Admiral Nurse.
Don Wood, OSJCT’s Chairman, commented: “We’re delighted to be opening Hayward Care Centre. It is the latest addition to our ongoing strategic programme with Wiltshire Council to create new facilities throughout the county designed to meet the current and future requirements for the care of older people, particularly nursing and specialist dementia care.”
Keith Humphries, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult care, said: “We want to support people to live well and be as independent as possible while ensuring they remain safe. We need to have the right accommodation, alongside high-quality support and care services, to achieve this.”
Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director said: “It is vital that older people and their families have confidence in the quality of care delivered. Hayward Care Centre is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through partnership working with specialist providers to benefit the increasing number of older people with dementia across Wiltshire.”