The veterans’ care village for Broughton House is an example of the personalised approach to living that we should all expect, writes Gillian Harrison, senior architect at Levitt Bernstein.
Broughton House is a remarkable organisation, striving to give the best to the military veterans for whom it cares. The existing Broughton House care home is one of just two dedicated homes for veterans in the North of England. A far greater provision exists in the south of the country, despite the fact a quarter of all armed forces personnel are recruited from the North West of England. The home offers a place in which veterans of conflict can live out their final days in peace, surrounded by a beautiful landscape setting.
But it is no longer fit for purpose, and the Broughton House charity knows there are more ex-service personnel who could benefit from their approach to care. As such, next year the old building will make way for a new care home for 64 residents and independent living apartments for another 30. Integral to the new village will be a support hub providing a focal point for veterans and serving soldiers, allowing them to access support for various issues such as mental health problems, addiction and other challenges facing many ex-service personnel.
Levitt Bernstein’s design concept for this flagship building is the contemporary re-imagining of a military fort, where a community would have lived within protected walls. The accommodation is wrapped around a generous landscaped courtyard, with space for activities from a bandstand to a bowling green, forging strong communal links. External materials and treatments reference the solidity of stone battlements, providing a feeling of protection for those inside. A focal entrance (although not a drawbridge) will welcome visitors into the heart of the building where support services and historic displays will be located.
The care home accommodation is arranged in households suited to the level of support needed by residents, with one dedicated to those living with dementia. Each includes a suite of bedrooms that connect to an open plan living and dining space, which includes a communal kitchen so that residents can partake in normal daily domestic life, such as the preparation of meals. Communal spaces include balconies and winter gardens so there is a view out over the central courtyard towards the rest of the community, and a view out through the ‘wall’ and trees to the wider world.
It’s a sobering thought to imagine the building that you might choose as your final place to live. The care and dedication shown by the Broughton House charity is inspirational, and with this new resource, the work that began over 100 years ago caring for wounded service personnel (and carrying out operations in the basement), can continue into a new phase.
- A fundraising campaign has been raised to help Broughton House realise its development proposals. To donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/themillionpoundsalute
The North West in 2018 series features guest contributors looking ahead to next year and is published throughout December.