A major new disability hub in England's second city will support creativity and mental health as much as traditional services, say disability charity Sense, who have designed the new TouchBase Pears centre. 

The centre offers specialist services for people with complex disabilities and facilities for the wider community, including a library and café.

It was opened by Princess Anne this week after five years of planning and anticipation.

“TouchBase Pears is a new way of delivering social care services, leading the way for the rest of the voluntary sector and beyond," said Sense Chief Executive Gill Morbey.

"With its focus not just on services, but arts and wellbeing, office space, library, café and rooted in the heart of the community, it shows Sense can work beyond the boundaries of social care."

"TouchBase Pears is bringing people together and demonstrating how integration and inclusion can work in Birmingham, but its reach and impact will be much wider.”

Rapid progress

Touch Base Pears manager Laura Benson added: "TouchBase Pears is quickly becoming an important community hub, with so much going on, including arts and sport, children’s library and a buzzing café."

The building’s fully-accessible design has been developed in consultation with children and adults with a wide range of disabilities to ensure it meets people’s needs.

Sense will use the centre to run a number of specialist services, supporting people with complex disabilities to learn new skills, build confidence, develop communication skills and take part in community-based activities.

The centre has been built with investment from trusts and foundations, including the Pears Foundation and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.