Published: 14:52, 12 April 2018
| Updated: 16:04, 12 April 2018
Empty houses behind Buckland Hospital will be converted into the UK’s first dementia village by July next year.
The development should also stop the scourge of the 12 derelict properties being repeatedly targeted by arsonists.
The team behind the £3.5 million project told Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke about the latest plans on a recent visit to the site.
Residents will be helped to live as independently as possible – with an on-site shop, cinema, pub and hairdressers.
The six semi-detached blocks in Randolph Road, Dover, will be renovated and house 30 beds for elderly residents.
Each block will hold five beds in specially adapted flats – with trained healthcare assistants on site.
A community centre will also offer an extra six beds which can be filled from referrals by GPs or Kent County Council, bringing the total number of beds to 36.
Mr Elphicke heard of the plans from consultant geriatrician Philip Brighton and strategic intelligence director Henry Quinn, both from East Kent Hospitals NHS University Foundation Trust.
They said they had used local architects and a local contractor – and intend to employ local workers when the site is up and running.
Mr Elphicke said: “It’s fantastic that an innovative project like this is coming to Dover and that we are seeing yet more investment in local care services.
“What’s more, it’s great to see the empty houses finally being brought back into use, creating a place elderly patients can call home."
Dr Brighton said: “The dementia village will promote a sense of independent living with nursing care.
“The specialist community hub will be a centre of excellence for dementia care in Dover.”
The dementia village is expected to cost exactly £3,410,294.
It will also be on part of the former Buckland Hospital, which is directly in front of the houses.
The houses had been kept by East Kent Hospitals after the old hospital site was sold to Kent County Council.
T he replacement hospital, further along Coombe Valley Road, was opened in June 2015.
The houses had been targeted three times last year with one property torched each time. The worst was in August when flames rose from the ground floor of a house and through the roof.
A total 80% of it caught fire with further fuelling from old furniture and rubbish inside.
East Kent Hospitals secured the buildings with metal shutters to keep out vandals and squatters.
It had been part of a pattern of torchings of disused premises in the area, including on the old Buckland Hospital building that July.
The dementia village is known officially as Community Areas of Sustainable Care and Dementia Excellence in Europe (CASCADE), and part of a wider project that involves partners from the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
It has been part-paid for by the European Regional Development Fund and is to deal with increasing numbers of people suffering dementia as we live longer.
. In 2015 there were 850,000 people living with the condition in the UK and by 2025 it is estimated that this will have grown to nearly 1,150,000.
Dementia now costs the UK economy £26.3 billion a year.
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