durham county council largeCare hubs designed to provide therapeutic and multi-sensory activities for people requiring specialist care and support have been launched at five bases across the county.

The Durham County Council Care and Support Pathways care hubs are based within the council’s leisure centres at Newton Aycliffe, Spennymoor and Stanley and in community venues in Pity Me, Durham and Essington road, Peterlee. All five will officially be opened this week in a series of celebration events.

Durham County Council’s team manager for Care and Support Pathways, Karen Vasey, said: “All of our team members have really put their hearts and souls into making sure the care hubs are warm and friendly places for people with the most complex and specialist care needs.”

The care hubs provide a wide range of therapeutic activities including rebound trampoline sessions to enhance movement patterns, therapeutic positioning, exercise and recreation; hydrotherapy to relieve discomfort and promote physical wellbeing; specially adapted sports and games and food awareness, touch, taste and cookery sessions.

Vice-Chairman of Durham County Council, Cllr Mike Dixon, said: “The care hubs provide such a huge range of activities for our service users and the benefits of the therapeutic activities include improvements to muscle tone and limb strength as well as an increased sense of wellbeing and enhanced quality of life. We hope that with our new centres, more services users from across the county will be able to benefit from sessions with us.”

As part of the launch programme a courtyard garden at the Pity Me hub has been completely transformed in a 10-week project. Designed and developed by service users and staff from partner organisation, Groundwork, the space now offers a sensory garden where people can gather to relax, reflect quietly or talk with friends.

Karen added: “Our customers have had some real input into the sensory garden and were assisted by a tutor to make rustic insect nesting boxes for the space. Thanks to further assistance from the Galvanise team from Groundwork, we also have wind chimes, bird tables, a water feature, plant grasses that rustle in the breeze and all are easily accessible to people with complex and specialist care needs.

“We are now hoping to install a webcam to create a live feed truly enabling the outdoors to be brought indoors for people who may not necessarily be able to access the space, for example, allergy sufferers and to enable us to bask in the glory of the great outdoors from the comfort of the care hub lounges when the weather is being less than kind, which is sadly too often as we well know!”

Following the launch of Spennymoor on Monday, events will be held at the remaining care hubs as follows:

  • Stanley Pathways, The Louisa Centre, DH9 0TE – Tuesday, 12 July: 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Afternoon Cream Teas
  • Peterlee Pathways, Essington Way, SR8 5AZ – Wednesday, 13 July: 10.00am – 3.00pm, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
  • Durham Pathways, Abbey Road, Pity Me, DH1 5DQ – Thursday, 14 July: 1.30pm – 3.00pm, Afternoon Tea
  • Newton Aycliffe Pathways, Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, DL5 4EH – Friday, 15 July: 1.00pm – 3.00pm, Great British Tea Party

All of the launch events will feature light refreshments and musical entertainment and will feature showcases of the new equipment.

The sensory garden will be officially opened during the Pity Me, Durham Pathways; launch event by the Vice-Chairman of Durham County Council, Cllr Mike Dixon.

For more information about the Pathways care hubs across the county, please visit: http://www.durham.gov.uk/carehubs.