On Tuesday, The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened a new accommodation for young people with disabilities in Pittville, Cheltenham.
National Star’s Bradbury Gardens provides accommodation to college students with disabilities and enables them to live in small peer groups. The specialist facilities in the structure include ceiling tracking hoists, ensuite bathrooms, assistive technology and height adjustable kitchens and baths. Situated on the border of Pittville Park, as the name suggests, Bradbury Gardens also boasts gorgeous gardens, and outside term time, the National Star facility provides respite and short break services to support families.
The £6 million Bradbury Gardens was funded by a combination of government support, support from trusts and foundations, and private donations from the community.
During her visit, The Duchess spoke to and visited the flats of some young adults living in Bradbury Gardens including 19-year-old Georgie Williams. “This is my first year at National Star, and my new home is great,” said Georgie, who uses an electronic communicator.” It is important to me because it is the first time I have lived away from my parents.”
Another student, 18-year-old Josh Reeves, also told The Duchess of Gloucester about his experience living in his own flat, saying: “In my new flat I can do my own cooking and my own cleaning. I like having my own space and Bradbury Gardens is a great place to live.”
The Duchess was accompanied on her tour by Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord-Lieutenant for Gloucestershire. The visitors walked around the communal kitchen, observing the students as they made apple crumble and learning about how they use technology to their advantage.
Before leaving, the Duchess praised the design of the place, saying: “Bradbury Gardens is beautiful. You said you wanted to create a place where we’d all like to live. You have achieved that. It’s been uplifting to meet the students.”
David Ellis, chief executive of National Star, spoke about the new facility. “Bradbury Gardens has been a real partnership with supporters and funders to create something aspirational,” he said. “We are honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness.”
“Bradbury Gardens will play a crucial role in enabling young people to develop essential ‘life-skills’ and help equip them with the practical skills and confidence that they need to live more independently in their future lives,” Mr Ellis added. “By doing so this will transform their quality of life and will liberate families and communities from the need to seek long-term care provision.”