Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Update on Westmead

Article forwarded to us by Heather Cresswell from the Reading & Wokingham Districts MS Society:

Westmead Update: August 2012


Lots has been happening since the last update, with much still to do.

We have identified a possible new site for a Westmead replacement building in Woodley and an additional funding application has been made. Negotiations to date have gone well but there is still more to be done if we are to get all we want in the projected extension.

We have also had further discussions with the Neuro rehab team around Westmead offering a follow on rehab programme and again this seems to be progressing well.

Below you will also find a summary of several other areas that we are currently exploring – sports and exercise; hydrotherapy and a new post of outreach/development worker.

And so to the summary:-

The Building

Ø A bid has been submitted for an additional £250,000. We should know the outcome in the next month or so. There is very strong competition for this funding but we feel our bid is a strong one too.

Ø  The bid for funding includes areas for community use. The intension that is built there will have areas specific to Westmead but the whole complex will be seen as a community hub. The funding bid reflect this.

Ø Nearby is Alexandra Place (extra care housing complex) with facilities that we anticipate being able to access. These include an exercise room; therapy room; IT suite and community café.

Ø Including in the funding bid is specialist equipment to go in the exercise room at Alexandra Place. These include passive exercise machines which will be used for rehabilitation purpose – the PCT will be organising exercise classes for individuals who have had strokes, heart attacks etc or who need to build up cardio-vascular/core strength. Discussions are ongoing as to access by other groups or individuals but it is anticipated that this will be available to those attending Westmead.

Ø Preliminary plans have been drawn up for the extension but as always, the devil is in the detail. Discussions are ongoing and when parties are happy, the plans will be shown at Westmead and comments invited.

Ø A building conditions survey has been commissioned and the results should be with us within the next few weeks. The report will also give an estimate of the life of the building to which the extension is to be added.

Reablement as part of Westmead

If you would like further details please talk to David Brown at the centre.

Ø Fruitful discussions have taken place with the Neuro rehab team. As a result, staff at Westmead will be shadowing staff in the team and will be offered training by the neuro rehab team in various interventions – all with a view to Westmead staff continuing with the rehab regime at the centre, under the supervision of their staff.

Ø This rehab programme will be for six weeks at no charge to the individual. Not all people receiving input from the neuro rehab team will be suitable however and the programmes will be carefully structured. The opportunity to access this programme will be open to all. Wokingham’s eligibility criteria will not apply for this six weeks.

Ø During this six week period there will be an assessment as to whether the individual has an eligible need (remember Wokingham’s criteria is set at critical). If eligible and the individual wishes to continue, they will be funded accordingly.

Ø The spin off for Westmead is that the staff will then be able to offer goal focussed rehab programmes to existing and new attendees.

Ø Staff from the Neuro rehab team will keep an oversight on the Westmead staff rehab activities and will offer advice and guidance.


Ø Discussions have been ongoing with the Sports development staff. As a result we are exploring two possible developments, both to be sited in the centre. These are

o   A range of exercise classes specifically designed for Westmead attendees but with an invitation to any family member to join in. If not full, the opportunity to join in will be offered to interested individual outside of Westmead

o   A range of exercise classes open to all but with the opportunity for Westmead attendees and their family to join if they wish.

Ø These classes will be either no cost or low cost and if successful will be repeated.

Ø Please let staff know of any particular exercise/sports you might like to sample. Adam (sports development) is quite flexible!

Outreach/Development worker

Ø Funding has been agreed from the Prevention budget to develop an outreach role. The funding application came about as the result of discussions in DOSG. The question was asked - What happens to those who either don’t meet our eligibility criteria for day activities or who go through the rehab period and exit having been assessed as not eligible?

Ø The post holder will work with these individuals (should they choose) in either identifying possible alternative resources or even setting up small groups with others in the voluntary sector. The role will evolve over time but will be focussed on what those individuals and their families identify as needing for themselves.

Ø Further details as to the exact amount and any conditions attached to the funding have yet to be received but it should be possible to appoint to this post within the next few months.


Ø Again as the result of discussion in DOSG, we have been looking at what opportunities there might be in the area for individuals to access hydrotherapy. Two possible candidates have been identified and two of the DOSG team have visited. They are the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) and Ravenswood Village.

Ø RBH are currently reviewing the use of their pool and seem likely to expand its use. At present they are looking at the needs of those in hospital and are wanting to expand its use in-house. They are open to the idea, however, that if there are spare slots then these might be made available to groups and individuals outside of the hospital. They hope to conclude this review in the next month or two.

Ø Ravenswood consists of a group of residential home for adults with a learning disability in Finchampstead. Based on a village model, it also has additional facilities. These include a hydrotherapy pool and gym. As with RBH, they are reviewing the use of the pool and seem very open to the idea that it might be used by outside groups/individuals when not required by them. It is about to undergo refurbishment and will be out of action from September, opening again in January 2013. We hope to continue the dialogue during this period.

Membership of DOSG

As before, we would invite volunteers to join DOSG – either from those attending the centre or from family members.

If you are interested, please let David Brown or a member of staff at Westmead know.

Our thanks in anticipation.

Any comments/thoughts would be equally welcome.

DOSG.  August 2013.