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Country's first dementia village, Harmonia in Randolph Road, Dover, to open in December

The UK's first dementia village is due to open in two months.

Harmonia Village will use six derelict houses in Randolph Road, Dover, to support up to 36 people with nursing care.

The dementia village, Randolph Road. Photograph from the office of Charlie Elphicke MP
The dementia village, Randolph Road. Photograph from the office of Charlie Elphicke MP

East Kent Hospitals NHS University Foundation Trust expects the £3.5 million complex to open in December.

Dr Phil Brighton, the trust's clinical lead for dementia, said the aim was "to create a home from home” in “a more intimate environment.”

The centre will contains six houses each holding five residents.

There will also be a shop, a cinema, a pub, hairdressers, and a community centre offering an extra six “flexible” beds which can be filled from referrals.

He added: “The idea is to create a more intimate environment.

The dementia village will be just behind the present Buckland Hospital
The dementia village will be just behind the present Buckland Hospital

"Wherever possible we have tried to create a home from home."

"The expectation is that people can bring their own furniture if they would like but that everyone gets their own personal space – including en-suites, accessible bathrooms."

Building work started last November.

The scheme has been paid for with European funding matched with money from the NHS and Kent County Council.

Dr Brighton recently showed Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke around the site, which is just behind Buckland Hospital.

Mr Elphicke with Dr Phil Brighton at the dementia village. Picture: Office of Charlie Elphicke MP
Mr Elphicke with Dr Phil Brighton at the dementia village. Picture: Office of Charlie Elphicke MP

Mr Elphicke said: “People should be able to grow old with dignity.

" That means delivering not just first-class care but also independence wherever possible.

"This kind of facility could pioneer how we do things, so it’s fantastic that it’s all starting in Dover.

“With our two safeguarded hospitals and our first medical school opening next year, it’s also another sign our area is finally getting the healthcare investment it deserves."

In 2015 there were 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and by 2025 it is estimated that this will have grown to nearly 1,150,000.

Grim past. The disused houses had repeatedly been struck by arsonists in 2017. This shows the third attack, that August
Grim past. The disused houses had repeatedly been struck by arsonists in 2017. This shows the third attack, that August

Dementia is said to cost the UK economy £26.3 billion a year.

The development is hoped to also keep in the past the scourge of arson attacks that struck some of the disused houses, a set of 12 in total, in 2017.

There were three fires there in six months.

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