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New Toftwood care home aims to help people achieve greater independence

PUBLISHED: 07:02 26 May 2016

Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

A new residential home has opened in Toftwood, near Dereham, specialising in the care of people with autism and learning disabilities.

Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers in the sensory room. Picture: Matthew Usher.Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers in the sensory room. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Westfield House welcomed its first resident on Saturday since its £80,000 renovation from a care home for the elderly.

Run by the Black Swan Care Group it offers both residential and respite care and aims to be a stepping stone for its users to move on to a more independent living in the future.

“We want it to have a holiday feel so that people look forward to coming here,” said regional manager Leon Smith.

“We have tried to incorporate areas which you would normally find in day care services such as a sensory studio and cinema.”

Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers in the sensory room. Picture: Matthew Usher.Westfield House in Toftwood, Dereham has been refurbished to support people with autism and learning difficulties - From left, regional manager Leon Smith and home manager Richard Rogers in the sensory room. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Twelve airy bedrooms have been simply decorated and there are plans to convert another into a self-contained flat to be a first step to independence. Outdoor space includes areas to learn horticultural skills.

While Black Swan has 13 other residential homes throughout East Anglia Westfield House is the first to specialise in autism and staff have been given extra training, particularly in alternative communication methods and has forged a link with The Hamlet in Norwich, a charity supporting people with profound disabilities and complex health needs.

Each resident’s needs will be considered before they are offered a place and also whether they are a good mix with its current occupants to ensure a holistic approach that ensures everyone is happy.

Mr Smith added: “Residential care does not have the best reputation at the moment but rather than being somewhere for life we want to treat each resident as an opportunity to be progressive and enable them to improve their independent living skills so they can be discharged into supported living.

“We could take one someone who have come from a hospital environment and develop their skills so they can go and live in the community. That is the outcome we aim for with each resident.

“We want to go above and beyond what is required by the Care Quality Commission.”

* Westfield House is holding a tea party on Friday, May 27, raising funds for The Hamlet.

* For more information visit www.blackswan.co.uk/home/westfield-house/

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