Covid and Brexit to blame for £3m price hike in creating new dementia care centres, says council

The cost of creating two new day centres to tackle dementia issues in Kirklees has jumped by almost a third: from £8m to £11m.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 12:00 pm
An artist’s impression of the exterior view of proposed new Knowl Park House and Centre of Excellence, Mirfield. (Image: Kirklees Council)

And the blame is being put on a combination of Covid and Brexit.

Kirklees Council revealed in January 2020 that it wanted to re-design its dementia care and that it was looking to commission two new purpose-designed day centres for people with complex needs associated with dementia.

That means creating new buildings at its 25-place facilities at Knowl Park House, Mirfield, and the Homestead, Almondbury. The existing sites will be demolished and users “decanted” or moved out.

Construction on both sites is set to be completed by spring 2023 followed by services moving back into the new premises from their temporary decant locations.

Plans for Knowl Park House include a Centre of Excellence that will offer advice and support for people with a dementia diagnosis, their carers, and adults and children with other physical and sensory disabilities.

An initial bid for funding estimated £5m for Knowl Park House and £3m for the Homestead, with the money set aside.

However feasibility studies later showed that £6.3m was needed for Knowl Park House and £4.7m for the Homestead.

The £11m total does not include furniture costs for the two sites or staff salaries. The council has already paid out £300,000 on design fees and charges.

Some of the money allocated to the new centres – £1.875m – has been diverted from planned improvements to two of its care homes: Moorlands Grange in Netherton and Ings Grove in Mirfield, which both offer intermediate care.

That cash will be used to support the increased costs associated with Mirfield and Almondbury.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service can reveal that “significant rises in construction materials associated with Covid and Brexit” along with other issues such as transport and demolition costs and the temporary decant have led to the £3m price hike.

Council staff have worked with the University of Stirling and its internationally-renowned research centre, which looks at the impact of environment on the experience of people living with dementia, to come up with its plans.

The new facility aims to showcase to people how areas of home-living design and new technology can help them make positive changes to their current accommodation.

There will also be opportunities for partnership working with the focus on early intervention, so people are better able to stay independent for as long as possible.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Clr Mus Khan (Lab, Dalton) said: “It’s vital that we take advantage of the latest research and technology to support our residents living with dementia and I’m pleased that we will be discussing these proposals to enhance the support available for people in North Kirklees.

“We have worked collaboratively with the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) to ensure the new facilities incorporate dementia design principles and meet the DSDC dementia design standards.

“Once open, the new flexible space could allow for access on evenings and weekends to meet the needs of people in a more flexible way and to provide a wider range of support for family carers.”