Rita, 96, was the first person welcomed on to the new unit when people transferred from the much loved but outdated Henderson ward at Thornbury Hospital last November.
Now living back home, Rita returned for the opening ceremony attended by staff, current service users and representatives of partner organisations who worked together to secure the new facilities for the town.
The unit is within a separate and dedicated area of the new The Orders of St John Care Trust’s Grace Care Centre and is staffed, managed and registered to Sirona care & health, provider of community services in South Gloucestershire.
Janet Rowse, Sirona’s chief executive, presented special Star pin badges to the staff who had worked tirelessly to ensure the service transferred safely and she also made Rita, Shirley and Peter Moore, the Trust’s Commissioning Manager, honorary Sirona Stars in recognition of their support and dedication.Rita said:
“I was impressed by how well the transfer went; coming back is not like seeing people at work as everyone seems to be part of one big family.”
Shirley, who is also chair of the League of Friends, said: “The staff and people here are extremely happy; it has been a very successful venture. These are beautiful facilities. There’s a lovely atmosphere, a real joy and you can feel the warmth when you walk in.”
Jenny Theed, Sirona’s Director of Nursing and Operations, said: “We are extremely grateful to The Orders of St John Care Trust, a non-profit organisation like us, for providing this fantastic environment for us to work in and our Commissioners for supporting the service.
“I am totally indebted to my team who worked so hard to ensure we were able to transfer the service so smoothly and who provide outstanding care every day. I am also really grateful to Shirley and Rita for coming today and for their support; we continue to be very much part of the community of Thornbury.”
A cake created by Emma Richards, assistant manager for in-patient rehabilitation and clinical specialist speech and language therapist, was cut and shared with guests and service users.