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A Healthy Living Centre for Hemyock

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The development of a Healthy Living Centre for Hemyock came a little closer yesterday when the Mid Devon District Council planning committee agreed a Change of Use for the garages of the former St Ivel factory from light industrial to social care premises.   The Healthy Living Centre is a new and innovative way of helping the community take better care of itself.   The Centre will strive to maintain the health and wellbeing of the frail, vulnerable and disabled in the scattered and often isolated rural community enabling them to stay at home.

The Centre will partner with the Blackdown Practice, Primary Care Trusts and Devon and Somerset Social Services. It will provide, a Day Care for the elderly, a Dementia Café providing respite care, Health promotion Workshops and support groups and Expert Patients groups for, arthritis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and sufferers from other chronic illnesses.   The support groups will concentrate on helping patients understand their illness and find ways for optimising their health and quality of life.   Rooms will be provided for the use of the Community Nurses and health care workers and for chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, counselling and other complementary therapies.

Whilst, initially, this project is predominately aimed at the elderly, vunerable and those with disabilities, healthcare promotion will be aimed at all age groups, to cover topics such as Smoking Cessation, Parenting and Obesity etc. A very exciting area of preventative medicine is the development of a care pathway with the Blackdown Practice and the Peninsular Medical School to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in patients with Pre diabetes. 

Some of this work has already begun.  For example the Healthy Living Centre will increase the excellent existing voluntary work being done for the community of the Blackdown Hills by the Cameo Club, a day centre for the frail and elderly, which has been running for 32 years.  However, due to a lack of space and facilities, many of the others projects could not be started untill now.  A grant from the lottery fund has been sought to meet the cost of the conversion of the buildings which will amount to £260.000

Planners had  turned down the idea sighting the S106 development agreement and the need to use the garages as employment opportunities.  However, a strong case was put forward by  Heather Stallard the Chair of Hemyock Parish Council and Keith Farmer architect for the Project, to the Planning Committee who said that there would be greater employment prospects within the developing care sector and that the Blackdowns had significant elderly population who would benefit enormously from the Healthy Living Centre.  Heather also said that other light industrial units remained empty in the village in the long term.
Steven Reed
01823 680946