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Milton Grange, Eastbourne

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Milton Grange is a newly refurbished centre providing adult short-term respite care and day services. The centre has 37 bedrooms divided into 4 specialist units supporting adults with a range of mental health.

In 2009 Judi was commissioned by AJK architects on behalf of East Sussex County Council to develop an interior design scheme for the refurbishment of the existing Milton Court. The existing building was challenging from an architectural design perspective as the building had been added to over time, creating a very complex infrastructure with M&E services and changes in floor levels. In addition to the physical challenges of the existing infrastructure, Judi was tasked to design an environment which would be contemporary, emotionally uplifting and as accessible as possible to older people with dementia, as well as people with other mobility and cognitive disabilities. Prior to commencing any design work, Judi carried out much research into the specialist area of designing environments for people with dementia.

The scope of Judi’s brief was to work alongside AJK architects and to design the interior in terms of finishes, furniture, lighting and to use colour and contrast as a means of assisting independent wayfinding through the existing complex ‘rabbit warren’.

The initial part of the brief was to develop a colour strategy and select laminate colours for the bathroom and toilet doors which had to be delivered in the first 2 weeks of working on the project due to timescales. Judi decided to work with fresh, saturated colours which would provide an uplifting splash of colour in each area. The building was divided into different colour zones where all fabrics would co-ordinate. The walls were to remain a neutral off white throughout all colour zones so as to provide a consistency throughout the whole scheme.

Once the colour strategy had been agreed and the laminate door colours had been selected, the challenging part was then getting all the other finishes to work with these fixed colours.

All surface finishes were carefully selected to help ensure that suitable levels of tonal contrast were incorporated to assist partially sighted people to use the building independently and that all finishes were fit for purpose in terms of slip resistance and infection control. Judi also designed a wayfinding signage strategy based on current best practice guidelines incorporating pictograms, tactile and Braille signage.

The on-site facilities include therapy rooms, kitchens, lounge areas, a café and hair salon as well as a range of daily social activities. As part of this new service the council will work closely with health professionals in the NHS and local voluntary organisations.

Milton Grange was officially opened on Thursday 4 February 2010.

Councillor Rupert Simmons, the Chairman of the County Council, performed the opening ceremony, accompanied by Councillor Bill Bentley, the Lead Member for Adult Social Care (ASC) and Keith Hinkley, Director of ASC.

Councillor Bill Bentley said: “This is a marvellous state-of-the-art unit which will provide respite care and more flexible day services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It also means that carers will have a break from the demands placed on them. The facilities and activities are first-class and it is a great honour to be involved in the official opening of Milton Grange”