New children's facility proposals on show

PROPOSALS for a brand new facility for children with additional needs and their families are due to go on show to staff, parents and carers of children next week.

PROPOSALS for a brand new facility for children with additional needs and their families are due to go on show to staff, parents and carers of children next week.

The proposals are being put forward by Devon County Council and the NHS, in conjunction with the Vranch House charity in Exeter, to develop the Honeylands site into a purpose-built Specialist Child Assessment Centre.

Staff, parents and carers of children who use the current facilities are being invited to an information day on May 17, to find out about the proposals and discuss their requirements.

The new centre will build on the existing child development services at Honeylands, retaining the quality features and services, but providing more inclusive and modern facilities.

The proposals also include more specialist residential services designed to meet the needs of children and young people and develop a more focused approach to short breaks.

The residential units are based at Meadowpark in Exeter, Hillcrest at Awliscombe and Barnes at Tiverton.

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All three units will cater for children and young people from four to 18 years and will provide high quality services with specialist staff.

Funding for the centre has come from a large donation made through the Honeylands League of Friends with additional finance from Vranch House who are project-managing the construction.

Although based in Exeter, the project will have a Devon-wide impact by providing more equality of service and choice across the county.

Colonel Wheeler, Chief Executive of Vranch House, said: "This unique project brings together the best of the charity and public sectors to deliver first class services to an important part of our community; children and young people with a wide range of disabilities who deserve the very best we can provide."

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing, said: "Honeylands provides a highly regarded service to children and their families in the Exeter area, and we are really pleased to enable a strategic partnership between a number of partners which will provide families and professional staff with a brand new, modern building."

"The new facility will not only offer better facilities, it will also provide children with more profound disabilities the opportunity to use the services on offer at Honeylands, as well as extending the age range for children who can access the centre.

"We have also taken the opportunity to incorporate a menu of more specialist residential services in the Exeter area, designed to better meet the needs of the families who use them.

"We are delighted to be involved in this partnership project with NHS Devon, the Primary Care Trust and Vranch House, and look forward to talking to staff and families to see how best we can shape the facilities and services to suit their individual needs."

All staff will be provided with training specific to the needs of the young people and in line with NHS Devon and Ofsted requirements.

Jayne Carroll, NHS Devon's director of strategic commissioning, said: "The families of children with additional needs do a fantastic job and we are determined to do everything we can to design future services around them.

"It certainly isn't every day that a benefactor comes forward to support such a project in this way so we intend to work with families to make the very most of this terrific opportunity.