25.07.2018

Mayfield Autism Centre: improving lives of locals with autism in WIgan

NWCH Framework partner, Willmott Dixon have successfully handed over Mayfield Autism Centre (Phase 1) to Wigan Council, which is the third project the main contractor has successfully completed on behalf of this Client under the Wigan Council Housing Framework, procured through the North West Construction Hub.

Contractor and Client have maintained a close collaborative relationship due to their shared ambition to support local people with complex needs to live happy, fulfilling lives in high quality, supportive environments.

“The whole experience has been excellent, which is unsurprising as everything we have done with Willmott Dixon to date has been fantastic. We have had to introduce a lot of changes on this job and the project team have just got on with them, they have been really positive, proactive and helpful throughout. The building we received at handover was perfect; the Mayfield Autism Centre is a high quality building and will certainly help to improve the lives of people living with autism in Wigan.” Laura McBride, Project Manager, Wigan Council

The project consists of two phases of work:

Phase 1: A new autism centre consisting of 12 apartment units within one 960m2 centre, with staff facilities including office space, two kitchens and an apartment. This project has been handed over on time, to budget and to the customer’s full satisfaction. Developed in line with the Autism Design Guide, this phase also includes a sensory room with 3D imagery and a garden area providing a supportive outdoor environment. These additions focus on enhancing the lives of residents by providing calm surroundings which will reduce their stress and anxiety.

Phase 2: A new housing development compromising of 30 affordable houses and bungalows. This phase is currently underway, and on course to be completed in October 2018. To support the people living within the Autism Centre, the new homes will, in the first instance, be available for families of people living with autism so they can be close to their relatives in the autism centre.

 

Protecting residents from harm while enhancing building longevity

 To best meet the needs of residents of the Autism Centre while extending the lifecycle of the facility, Willmott Dixon worked with the customer closely at design stage to account for behavioural episodes sometimes experienced by those living with autism. For example, 100% of walls on this project were constructed using wet plaster and blockwork, and all heating systems and electrical panels were hidden and integrated into the wall structure.

 

Investing in the Wigan community

To create thriving communities on this project, Willmott Dixon capitalised on its excellent relationships with organisations such as Wigan & Leigh College, Deanery High School and St. John Fisher High School to offer apprenticeship/work experience opportunities and mock interview support to young people in the local area. 642 students were engaged with through careers and CV writing workshops, 510 students at careers fairs, and 50 site visits.

Willmott Dixon also provided 11 weeks of work experience with long-term unemployed people; one of these people, Aarron, has recently taken up full-time employment as a General Operative after being out of work for 6 months. He has been inspired to continue working with construction, and aspires to become a Joiner.

 

Collaboratively overcoming site location challenges

Due to the constrained, cul-de-sac location of this site, we faced the challenge of minimising disruption to local residents and maintaining their safety during construction. To overcome this challenge, we:

  • Informed people and held engagements
  • Developed logistics plans collaboratively with resident groups
  • Just in time deliveries, scheduled around local schools’ opening hours

 

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