Restoration work at Cromer care home in line for award

It was a restoration and re-build which aimed to update a north Norfolk care home and took four years to complete – but the wait was well worth it.

Now the work carried out is in line for an award – as well as a belated royal visit.

The restoration work at The Royal British Legion's Halsey House in Cromer, which included the building of an open space conservatory and a reminiscence room, has made it through to the finals of the best restoration/ extension of a care home category in the Pinders Healthcare Design Awards.

The two others nominated are Tewkesbury Care Home in Gloucestershire and Harwood House in Maidenhead.

Three judges were invited to take a look around the Cromer care home, which is home to many ex-servicemen and women and their families, last Wednesday and see for themselves the work which has been done,

Jon Chapman from Pinders, who was one of the judges, said: 'We have seen a written entry from the care home on the restoration, this visit is about bringing that to life.'

The rebuild also includes new wings housing 30 nursing and 30 residential beds along with a 16- bed dementia unit, the Danbury Unit.

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There are also courtyards for the residents' gardens and a conservatory link from the old part of the building to the new building, a games room and a fishpond.

All of the finalists in the competition have been given �500, which has to be donated to a charity of their choice. Halsey House is giving the money to the Royal British Legion Residents Fund.

Matron / manager Rachel Bates, left, has been at the care home since June last year and before that worked at Aegel House Care Home in Aylsham, which was run by the social services.

She said: 'This is a great care home to work at, it is very different working for the legion as opposed to social services, but we are very proud of the home; it is a lovely environment to work in and it is great it is being recognised in these awards.'

She said the home did have some vacancies, but for the foreseeable future those spaces were only open to beneficiaries of the legion.

The Duke of Kent was due to officially unveil the rebuild, which was funded by the Poppy Appeal, in March last year, but the visit had to be postponed when a sickness bug went round the home. Ms Bates said the plan was now for the Duke to visit in around May time this year.

The home was opened in May 1948 as a country home for aged and physically disabled ex-service men and was named after Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, who was president of the eastern area Royal British Legion at the time.

l The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony held on March 31 at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.