Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Care home for autistic young adults wins design award

CaerlanA care home in Wales for young autistic adults has won a design award for its low-sensory environment which is contributing to the quality of life and wellbeing of people who live there.

Caerlan, in Newbridge Road, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf, is a residential home for young adults over the age of 17 who are on the autistic spectrum. It is run by Craegmoor, part of the Priory Group. The building won the Best New Care Facility (Younger Adults) category at The Pinder Healthcare Design Awards.

The awards aim to promote and recognise the very best developments in all types of care-related property and have been running for 20 years. At the awards ceremony at Lancaster Hotel in London, attended by healthcare providers, architects and developers, the home was highly praised for a number of its design features.

Judges said: “In your category there were some amazing designs – but your service had soul, and that is why you won.”

For winning, Caerlan received £500, which it has donated to Follow Your Dreams, a charity that inspires children and young people with learning disabilities to fulfil their ambitions.

Sarah Hughes, chief executive officer of Craegmoor, said: “It is important for great design to be recognised in residential care, and we have been seeking to raise the bar in this area. This recognition shows we are doing just that.”

The home promotes independence, comfort, social interaction and wellbeing. It is an ‘autism friendly’ low stimuli environment. There are sensory lights installed in the en-suite bathrooms, and sound proofing in residents’ bedrooms, which limits interruption to their private time.

Since its opening, Caerlan has attracted considerable interest from service commissioners locally and as far afield as Northern Ireland and Kent, and it is becoming a model for how a complex autism service should be developed.

All furniture is discreetly robust and special fixtures have been installed to ensure residents can’t harm themselves. For instance, special taps ensure that bathrooms cannot flood.

Artwork is displayed around the home, most of which are photos of the local area, with the aim of making Caerlan a warm environment for everyone who visits.

Caerlan was created in 2014, after commissioners of services in South Wales identified the lack of specialist autism services in the area. Staff at the home were also recruited locally. The home offers spectacular panoramic views of the Welsh countrywide and there is a large garden as well as smaller outdoor areas where residents are able to relax.

Laura Prothero, home manager, said: “We are thrilled. Everyone including staff, relatives and residents are all very proud. We are a new home and it is great to see that we are establishing a great reputation already. A lot of work has been put into the home’s design to ensure residents are well looked after and have great start to their adult life.”

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