Plans for a “world class” centre in North Wales to care for people with dementia have been given the go ahead by planners.
The award-winning Pendine Park care organisation say the £5 million centre in Caernarfon, in Gwynedd, will create more than 100 new jobs.
They will demolish the former community hospital, Ysbyty Bryn Seiont, in Pant Road, on the outskirts of the town to make way for a purpose-built centre of excellence.
With so many people living longer these days, dementia in its various forms is a growing problem. It can also afflict a surprising number of younger people.
There are 700,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, a number that’s forecast to double within a generation. The Alzheimer’s Society call it the “dementia timebomb”.
Gwynfor Jones, who spoke on behalf of Pendine Park at the meeting, was delighted with the unanimous approval.
Mr Jones said: “We are committed to providing a totally bilingual, flexible dementia service for the community.
“We are aiming to support people to remain in their own homes through respite and crisis care to support families in addition to the specialist residential services.
“Our leading edge training and staff development programme will provide a large number of career pathways and opportunities for the people we recruit.”
The 67-bed centre at the five-acre Bryn Seiont site is the brainchild of Mario Kreft, the proprietor of Pendine Park, and his wife, Gill.
The couple run seven care homes, a domiciliary care company and a teaching care centre in the Wrexham area and Mr Kreft is a leading figure in the UK care sector.
He is the Chair of Care Forum Wales, the main representative body for the care sector in Wales, and was awarded an MBE for his contribution to social care in Wales.
Pendine Park already employs 500 people in North East Wales.
Mr Kreft was delighted the scheme had been given the green light by Gwynedd Council.
He said: “We are extremely pleased that we will now be able to make our vision for a world class service in Gwynedd become a reality.”
The model for Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont (Bryn Seiont Care Centre) is a similar centre in Wrexham which was officially opened First Minister Carwyn Jones.
There, the new Bodlondeb unit is divided into eight small, family-like units so that the residents receive individual care and attention while benefiting from the back-up of a larger organisation.
In 2010, Bodlondeb was named the best new dementia care facility in Britain at the UK Over 50s Housing Awards and was also a finalist in the equally prestigious Pinders Healthcare Design Awards.
Mr Kreft said: “We have certainly not rested on our laurels and the design of Bryn Seiont has built on the knowledge and experience we have gained at Bodlodeb so that we can meet the local needs in Gwynedd.
“In addition to providing world class provision of high dependency care, our services will also include respite and day service.
“They will also be closely linked with our teaching care centre which is going to ensure that our staff have the highest possible standard of training and personal development.
The Krefts, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pendine Park in 2010, entered the care sector when they were unable to find suitable residential care for their elderly grandparents.
Mrs Kreft said: “I think it’s fair to say that when you’ve had a personal situation or experience, you see things in a different light.
“It was many years ago in our case but it taught us that you need the very best services possible to meet your relatives’ needs.
“We were in a position where we couldn’t really find those services so we decided to take matters into our own hands and provide the sort of care that we felt was required for our grandparents, providing us with peace of mind and our grandparents with dignity and respect.
“We see Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont as a really exciting opportunity to provide some new, innovative services and to work closely with the statutory authorities to make sure that those services meet the needs and the likely future needs of the people of Gwynedd.”
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