Blackburn Rovers Community Trust are proud to have been named a 'Friend of Community Integrated Care'.
The Trust have helped the life-changing charity with the development of their new specialist dementia care home in Blackburn, creating a special Rovers themed area for residents to enjoy.
The £4.8m state-of-the-art EachStep Blackburn facility has opened on the site of the town's former Royal Infirmary. The 64 bedded home, which opened on 19th May, provides specialist respite support, residential care and nursing care, and is recognised as a national centre of excellence for dementia care.
EachStep Blackburn has a unique approach to interior design - with the home including a number of fun and nostalgic spaces within the care home, including a cinema, tea rooms and indoor gardens. These ensure that people living with dementia have somewhere welcoming and homely to live and can reconnect with treasured memories.
The Community Trust has been instrumental in the creation of a unique 'Sporting Memories' area within EachStep, donating Rovers-themed images, memorabilia and reading material to create a stunning visual display, primarily focussing on the town's two great sporting loves, football and cricket. They will also be backing the facility in the longer term, delivering themed reminiscence events around the Club's past, to help residents recall positive moments in their lives.
With the eye-catching design focussing heavily on the Club's greatest triumph - the 1994/95 Premiership title win - the Trust arranged to take the Premier League trophy to EachStep's launch day, where it was admired by the scores of delegates present, proving to be a hugely popular 'selfie' attraction.
In recognition of their dedicated support, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust was honoured by being named a 'Friend of Community Integrated Care' by the charity's deputy chief executive, Cath Murray-Howard, at the same launch event. This is Community Integrated Care's highest honour and has only been awarded to eight organisations in its 28 year history. This is presented to organisations that have made an exceptional contribution to the charity and was given to Rovers in recognition of both their support of the themed environment and their commitment to supporting EachStep Blackburn in the future.
Neil Matthewman, chief executive of Community Integrated Care, praised the backing they've received from the team at Ewood Park, explaining:
"Many people we will support at EachStep Blackburn will have treasured memories of watching Blackburn Rovers.
"The team at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust have backed our vision for promoting these, by working with us to create a stunning sporting memories area in our home. They generously shared with us their expertise, and opened their archives of memorabilia and photographs, so we could create a nostalgic space that residents and their loved ones will enjoy for years to come.
"They have also pledged to support us by inviting ex-players to visit our home for fun reminiscence sessions with people we support. This is truly an exceptional partnership, and demonstrates the commitment the club has to its fans and its community.
"In recognition of their support, our charity awarded Blackburn Rovers Community Trust our highest honour - Friends of Community Integrated Care status."
Adrian Ward, who received the award on behalf of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, said his organisation was proud to be associated with EachStep Blackburn.
"I've seen many care facilities down the years, but I've never experienced anything quite as welcoming and uplifting as this new centre," admitted the Trust's media and events coordinator.
"So much care and attention to detail has gone into the themed areas at EachStep Blackburn. I'm sure that residents, their families and their friends will really appreciate the surroundings that have been created for their comfort.
"As soon as we discovered that the development was in the pipeline, we were delighted to donate what we could in terms of artefacts and our own time, as we know that sport plays a huge part in so many lives, and great games or happy trips with your favourite team are often the memories that live on the longest in people's minds.
"I've personally experienced dementia on different scales with both of my grandfathers, and I know that it's the nostalgic thoughts that tend to evoke the happiest times for those in that position, so all the iconic images of sporting heroes, musicians and film stars, coupled with all the great shots of Lancashire in yesteryear that adorn every wall, are bound to bring a smile to the faces of all those that move in."