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Residents who will move in to a new Derbyshire County Council care centre being built in Belper have been given a taste of the site’s history.

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Residents Get A Taste Of County Council's New Care Home Plans

by Amber Valley Info on Saturday 13 April 2019

Residents who will move in to a new Derbyshire County Council care centre being built in Belper have been given a taste of the site’s history.

After months of site clearing and preparation, building of the 40-bed care centre to replace Ada Belfield Home for Older People is underway at the former Thornton’s chocolate factory.

Representatives from construction company Robertson met with current residents, their relatives and staff at the Field Lane home to update them on progress on site and to show them the latest plans for the care centre and library.

Past and present staff from Thornton’s also went along to talk about the site’s history and their experiences of working at the factory. They also took samples of chocolate for residents to enjoy.

They were joined by Councillor Barry Lewis, the county council's Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism.

Sitting within Derbyshire’s Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, the Derwent Street site played a key role in the industrial revolution.

Previously a blouse and hosiery factory owned by the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, it was used to store Rolls Royce engines during WW2 before being taken over by Thornton’s from 1947 until 2004.

The £10m development – which is due to open in January 2020 - includes a care centre, fully accessible library, community café and pedestrian links to the town centre.

The factory’s landmark façade will be retained and the new library – which will replace the current building in Bridge Street - will be housed in the oldest factory with original architecture on show.

The library will feature interactive equipment suitable for people with dementia to enable care centre residents, as well as local people, to use the library. There will also be a local studies area, children’s space and free access to computers.

Councillor Lewis said: “This visit brought back so many memories for me because I worked at the Thornton’s factory as a student.

“I’m delighted we have been able to retain the history of the site while creating a modern, accessible library building offering the latest design and technology.”

He added: “We value our library service and I know how important they are to local communities which is why we want them to work with us to help them grow, thrive and become tailor-made community hubs just like the library we are building in Belper.”

Councillor Jean Wharmby, Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Care, added:

“This development is part of our commitment to provide high quality care homes to ensure older people get the care and support they need to lead fulfilling, dignified lives.

“The standard of care at Ada Belfield was never in doubt but the building simply doesn’t meet the modern standards our residents deserve.

“This new building has been designed to meet the latest dementia-friendly standards and, with the community café and library, will be of real benefit to the whole community.” 

Paul Turner, Managing Director of Robertson Yorkshire & East Midlands, said: “It is always a pleasure for Roberston to be able to engage with the local community when working on a project.

“The new care centre will provide high quality facilities for the existing residents at Ada Belfield and we are delighted to get the chance to update them on how their future home is progressing.”

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