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New £3m learning disability service opens in Cambridgeshire


The specialist nurse-led service has been designed to provide support for people who would benefit from living in a peaceful setting; it will fill a desperate need in Cambridgeshire and allow people to be supported closer to their families, rather than in many cases, out of the county. More than 50 people, including civic dignitaries and health authority and social services representatives, have been invited to the opening. A plaque will be unveiled by Chris May, operations director of ISISS, the specialist services division of Suffolk-based Kingsley Healthcare Group. In attendance will be Mark Pavis, Head of London, South East & Corporate Healthcare, Santander Corporate & Commercial, and Mark Rothero, Relationship Director at Santander.

Ahead of the formal opening, the first two residents have already arrived and are settling into their new home which has been designed around the original farmhouse, sympathetically refurbished and converted into three semi-self-contained apartments. Two new buildings, providing a further six apartments, have been built alongside the farmhouse on the five-and-a-half acre site. A courtyard has been developed to incorporate one of two sensory gardens and plans have been drawn up for part of the land to be transformed into a wildflower meadow, vegetable garden, orchard and family farming facility. Planning approval has been given for the service to keep horses to establish a residents’ riding centre. Service manager Donna Smith said: “The facilities and peaceful setting of Glebe Farm are truly stunning. 

“Every possible need has been thought of in the design and we are able to adapt things for residents who move in to make our care very person-centred.” Mark Pavis, Head of London, South East & Corporate Healthcare, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “Santander has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Kingsley and we are truly delighted to be supporting them in the provision of this high-quality learning disability service, which will facilitate care for residents closer to their families. We are a specialist in providing tailored healthcare funding solutions and will bring this experience to support the team at Kingsley Healthcare Group.” Nearly 25 staff, including six nurses, have already been recruited; an additional 20-plus support workers will be needed as further residents arrive.

Mr May said: “We will be looking for exceptional individuals to fill these roles. “Our existing four learning disability services are all rated good by the Care Quality Commission and we want to recruit people with the right character and work ethic to ensure Glebe Farm matches our very high standards.” He said ISISS homes provided a homely, safe and secure living environment enabling people to be supported to fulfil their potential and to achieve their goals and ambitions. “When Decoy Farm, our first bespoke learning disability service, opened near Great Yarmouth, we set new standards with a nurse led facility that has proved highly successful in breaking down the revolving door syndrome where placements continually break down,” he said. “We have been highly successful in preventing re-admission to hospital for those who find it difficult to cope in a supported living service in the community.” 

He said such care facilities were in short supply, not just in Cambridgeshire but across the country, and this meant that people were sometimes placed a long way from their families or remained in a hospital setting when this would not be the most appropriate place for them. Mr May said: “With this development, we have been led by the care commissioners in Cambridgeshire who flagged up the local need.”

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