Bruton Knowles has been instructed to find a home for a circa 18,000 sq ft multi-million pound flagship Dementia Carers Centre in Birmingham described as the first of its kind in the world.
The centre will provide education, training and skills development for people who care for relatives with dementia. The hotel-style facility will also provide social and therapeutic support.
The Royal Surgical Aid Society (RSAS), a charity that supports dementia carers, is investing £4m in the project.
According to RSAS, there are more than 700,000 dementia carers in the UK. When fully operational, the Dementia Carers Centre will provide support for 1,500 carers every year.
Carers will use the centre to participate in short residential training courses, typically two, three or four days long.
Claire Goodchild, chief executive of RSAS, said: “The centre will be a major innovation in the way in which family and friends who care for people with dementia can get the support they need to enhance their caring skills, access information and receive social therapeutic interventions.
“Designed to be carer and dementia friendly, based upon domestic settings in ordinary housing, not institutional or care facilities, the centre will be an exemplar of good design, providing a sanctuary where carers can relax and de-stress.
“Having considered a number of cities, Birmingham was the ideal choice due to its central location, access to transport links and proximity to our academic partner, the Association of Dementia Studies at University of Worcester.
“We’re very much looking forward to working with local partners to create this internationally significant centre.”
The Dementia Carers Centre will provide state-of-the-art facilities, with meeting and conference space, teaching rooms, a demonstration suite, café/restaurant, library, leisure amenities, such as a games room, and a number of visitor and staff bedrooms.
Ian Mercer, partner and head of development at property consultants Bruton Knowles, is advising RSAS on land/property acquisition for the centre. He said: “We are extremely excited to be working on such an important project that will help change the lives of the thousands of people who work tirelessly and unselfishly caring for loved ones with dementia.
“The flagship facility will not only be the first of its kind in the UK but the first anywhere in the world and it will be right here in Birmingham.
“We’re considering all options for the premises, but the preference is for either an existing building of around 18,000 sq ft that can be converted or a four-acre plot of land for a purpose-built facility.”
RSAS was founded in 1862 by lawyer William Watson, who recognised the needs of those unable to afford surgical aids. During its first 90 years, the Society provided nearly two million surgical aids, including glasses for children, to those in need.
In 1948, the NHS assumed responsibility for supplying surgical aids, resulting in a change of direction for RSAS into providing residential care for older people. Today, RSAS is solely focused on providing support to family carers of people with dementia.