PRIMROSE HOUSE TRUST
Primrose House is a vision that has become a reality, we believe that even the most disabled young people can, given the right support, also live in the real world. Primrose House is not about ‘wrapping them in cotton wool’, anymore than it is about sterile, clinical environments. The story of Primrose House (which follows), is one of personal belief and strong commitment. That vision came from the mother and father of a profoundly and multiply disabled young man, who wanted a future for their son that met his changing needs on a personal basis once he’d left school, and which recognised that his learning should not stop when his formal education ceased.
They did not want to see him segregated from the remainder of humanity, and yet they wanted to be sure that he had access to the necessary skills, care and special equipment that he needed to be as comfortable, pain-free, mobile and as healthy as possible. They wanted to ensure that his life was as rich, as long and as full as it was within their power to make it. They wanted him to continue to experience love, concern and most of all companionship.
During the course of their son’s life they came to realise that they were not alone in their aspirations, and that many other parents wanted much the same for their disabled sons and daughters. To translate their vision into a tangible provision they recognised that they would need to find a site that was not far from his home area in Morecambe, on a main road and a bus route. They knew they would need to involve the local community in a way that developed respect for their son as a citizen in his own right, and that the only way to achieve this was by regular, ordinary, everyday contact. The parents equipped themselves with knowledge, and made contact with professional staff in health, education and social services. They investigated what was already available, and learned that small scale and day provision for profoundly and multiply disabled young people was neither available, nor planned in the local area.
The parents initiated local fund-raising, registered as a non-profit making charity, and from the personal contacts that they had made, invited people who were both knowledgeable and caring to form a Board of Trustees. After transferring their own assets to the charity, they then withdrew from the Trustee Board of the Charity, whilst continuing to take an active interest in the development of what came to be Primrose House. The clear message was given that they, nor anyone else benefits financially, but everyone benefits in terms of human advancement. A blend of the parent’s own life experiences with their disabled son and professional advice from some of the trustees, helped to ensure that every light switch was the right height to be reached from a wheelchair, every curtain was chosen to excite the eye and please the heart, and every effort was made to make the control of the world about them as available to young adults with multiple difficulties as possible.
The belief of Primrose House is that rooms represent opportunities to grow, pictures and ornaments are symbols of individual human presence, and the best available equipment and furnishings are a token of concern and regard for the young people using them. As the use of facilities and the income derived increases, so investment in people will increase in an ever upward spiral of excellence. Another important concept is that the building is not the world, and is no more important than the surrounding land, similarly, the world goes beyond the boundary fences, and Primrose House aims to share in the use of the increasing recreational facilities in Heysham and the surrounding community.
Primrose House was born out of a family affection and concern. Hence, it will never close families out of people’s lives. The doors are no more barriers to relatives and friends coming in, than to the young people going out. Transport and a means of personal mobility are crucial aspects of meeting a number of needs. Allied to the range of human needs Primrose House caters for, there is a corresponding range of staff skills, from physiotherapy to stop limbs from stiffening; to gardening to stimulate interest and awareness; from driving to transport people in wheelchairs to shops and local facilities; to a nurse to supervise medication etc; from a cook to provide wholesome and varied food; to cleaners to maintain hygiene; from on-site education and recreation; to supervision in off-site heated swimming pools. The list is almost endless and one obvious implication for even a non-profit making charity, is that maintaining a high level of local, community care for very disabled people is not cheap.
When full, Primrose House will not be expanded to take more people in, as much could be lost. There are sadly plenty of examples of modern day large institutions, where the individual personalities are lost in a welter of numbers, rules, regulations and rotas. It is hoped that Primrose House will provide a beacon to shed light on the value of small, specialised living habitats, and that this will generate other Primrose Houses who wish to emulate its human achievements. Having successfully raised enough money over a number of years to create a new purpose-built home, the original building became an ideal venue to develop a valuable resource, which could be used by our residents, carers, family, friends and community as a whole. A new vision was born – The Holistic Centre, which would be an attractive and accessible environment that could meet the needs of a wide range of people, both disabled and able-bodied.
All profits from The Holistic Centre contribute towards the Primrose House Trust If you would like to make a donation to The Primrose House Trust or bequeath money in a will, please contact Diane Grainger at The Holistic Centre on 01524 853553