On Tuesday 6 November at 2:00pm, The Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE, will officially open a pioneering care facility, unlike any other in the UK, in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre, when he unveils a commemorative plaque to celebrate the the official opening of Belong's latest state-of-the-art, dementia-friendly care village development.
Costing £13.5 million, Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme incorporates a unique local heritage gallery, within a Grade II listed building, which was developed with the help of a £1.8m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Open to the public, it serves as a living time capsule, with themed rooms bringing to life the history of Newcastle’s oldest building, which was once the town’s first and only pottery, a coaching inn and tea rooms and, in later years, the iconic Maxims nightclub.
The Belong Heritage Gallery is not only a cultural attraction, but integral to the village’s world-leading dementia care provision. It serves as a centre for residents and members of the local community to engage in heritage-themed activities, as well as a catalyst for reminiscence activities – proven to be beneficial for those living with dementia. Visitors can have a go at throwing their own pottery or playing darts in the recreation of the Old Pomona Inn, which once stood on the site.
On the afternoon of the official opening, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in guided tours of the development. And there will also be a final chance to see a promenade performance of 'Lost & Found at Maxims’ – an innovative stage production created in partnership with Newcastle’s New Vic Theatre, which brings to life people’s memories of the historic building.
Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme care village incorporates 28 apartments for independent living and six care households delivering 24-hour care. These are centred around a village hub, which provides amenities, including a hair salon, bistro and exercise studio, all of which are open to the public.